Fat (Suet) Feeders - Element Number Three

Friday, September 8, 2017

Woodpeckers are among the favourites of backyard birders, and I'm often asked what's the best way to get them to visit and continue coming back year-round. The answer to this question happens to be Number Three on our Elements of Bird Feeding Station list - Fat Feeders!

Suet feeders are a great, easy, and long-lasting way to feed the birds, and not just woodpeckers, many other insect-loving birds will partake in our fat feeder offerings as well, such as Chickadees and Nuthatches. This includes birds who do not eat seed and would not otherwise be at your backyard feeders, such as the Northern Flicker.

Suet is a high-energy, pure fat substance that is invaluable to birds.  Suet has a texture that the birds enjoy and is preferred by birds over rendered beef fat, which is the main ingredient in many lesser brands of suet cakes - always check the ingredients to ensure you're getting suet cakes made only of pure rendered beef suet for the best possible response from your birds and the best nutrition for them.

There are many different options when it comes to suet - suet cakes and cylinders/stackables being the most common and longest lasting.  Other options include suet plugs, which are inserted into holes in either man-made or natural branches, allowing the birds to work the food out naturally over time. Some suet comes in ball form that can be used in wire or spring feeders, or even in existing feeders, such as peanut wreaths. The possibilities are endless! Need some inspiration? Check out our selection of Suet Feeders on our website here.
Left: Red-Bellied Woodpecker enjoys Suet Plugs
Right: Scarlet Tanager snacks on some Bark Butter® on a specially designed feeder
Another great option, exclusive to Wild Birds Unlimited, is Jim's Birdacious® Bark Butter®, developed by Jim Carpenter, founder of Wild Birds Unlimited.  This spreadable suet product can be placed on tree trunks, branches, specially designed feeders (as shown above), or pretty much any available surface! This product is much more desirable than using peanut butter, which can be hard for birds to swallow and can cause quite a mess on their feathers. 

I hope this post gave you some ideas for including suet in our backyard offerings. It's one I definitely recommend having as part of your Feeding Station year round - my birds love it! Coming in my next post, we'll delve into Element 4 of a Thoughtful Bird Feeding Station - the Finch Feeder.

Missed a step? Check out the earlier posts in the series here:

Backyard Bird Feeding Setup - A How to Guide
Tray Feeders - Bird Feeding Station Element Number Two

Happy Birding!
~ Jen

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