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Let Them Eat Cake — Snow Cake That Is

You’ve probably heard of birdbaths and maybe even put up a bird feeder or two at home. These are great ways to feed birds (and other wildlife) all year long.


A cake made from snow and decorated with peanuts and bird seed.
A snow cake. (Photo by Heather Van Zyl)

But let’s try a recipe for a different treat, one that is best served cold! 


Snow cake recipe 


You can make your own snow cakes with some simple ingredients and a few easy steps.


Ingredients 


A table full of plates of fruits and bird seed.
(Photo by Heather Van Zyl)

  • A few inches of fresh, clean snow 

  • Birdseed 

  • Nuts 

  • Fruit (Fresh and dried)

  

Directions


A child decorating a snow cake with fruit.
(Photo by Heather Van Zyl)

1. Make a cake-shaped pile of snow. Form two or even three layers if the snow packs well. 


2. Decorate your cake with the seeds, nuts and fruit you gathered. Can you spell something with sunflower seeds? Make a pattern with fruit slices? Circle the edges with peanuts to make it look like frosting? 


3. Watch and wait. Who visits first? How many different birds nibble your cake? Do any other animals visit? Check the snow for tracks. Visitors may come in the night! 


4. Repeat! When the seeds are gone, add more. Create different patterns.  


5. Experiment! Make cakes with different ingredients. Which one gets gobbled up first? 


Choosing the right ingredients 


Nuts and seeds provide the protein and fat birds needs to keep up their energy during the winter months.  


Birds like different kinds of seeds. Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite for a lot of different birds. If you can only choose one kind of seed, try this one. But if you can get a variety, do it! You’ll feed more birds and have more options for fun decorations.


A snow cake decorated with bird seed and fruit.
(Photo by Heather Van Zyl)

 

The size of a bird, or the shape of its beak, may give you a clue to what it eats. Small songbirds, like goldfinches, enjoy tiny nyjer (thistle) seeds. Those tiny seeds could add fun details to your cake too! 


Nuthatches and blue jays have strong beaks for cracking nuts. They will enjoy peanuts, in or out of the shells, as long as they get to them before the squirrels! Make sure to buy raw nuts from the birdseed section of a store. The salt added to peanuts that people like to snack on can be harmful to wildlife. 


Some birds also like fruit for the high-energy boost of sweet, natural sugar. Cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers nibble on apples and raisins. Orange slices add a bright pop of color to your decorations and provide juice to sip.  


Final tips 


A snow cake with the seeds eaten and strewn about.
(Photo by Heather Van Zyl)

  • Create your cake near a bush or tree if you can. This will give the birds a quick hiding spot if a predator comes around.  

  • Trace designs in the snow with a stick to help the seeds stay put, at least until the snacking starts! 

  • If the snow lasts longer than the ingredients, add more! The birds will come back for a second helping! 

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