We are really in the coldest, leanest days of winter this week in Georgia and the birds are hungry. Most of the berries are gone, and insects are hiding too. Birds use a lot of energy just looking for food. Many of you know that I don’t advocate feeding the birds a lot, but even I feel compelled to help during this time. Plus they are fun to watch.
Suet provides essential nutrients and calories that birds
need, especially when insect protein is not as available. Birds that visit suet
feeders include some of the same birds that would visit a summer seed feeder:
titmice, woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens and nuthatches. But you also attract
some different birds: warblers and bluebirds both enjoy suet in the winter.
|Pine warbler and downy woodpecker enjoy suet|
You can buy suet cakes and suet cake holders at bird food stores, pet stores and even grocery stores. It is probably the most inexpensive way to feed the birds. The holders are usually wire cages which keep the cakes safely away from critters like squirrels. Of course some crumbs will fall to the ground and ground feeding birds like cardinals scoop them up.
|This cardinal cleans up the crumbs|
You can customize your suet based on what birds you like to attract. Some birds like fruit (raisins, blueberries, dried apple bits), others like peanuts, and still others like seeds (sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn). I’m going to see how this batch works and then decide how to change it. I put raisins in this batch to encourage more bluebirds. Caution: lard melts very quickly and then starts to smell; be sure to stay with it and add the peanut butter right away to smooth out the smell in the kitchen.