Suet is the perfect food to attract birds to your backyard, especially during winter. Suet is a meal that attracts more birds that seeds would not draw, and it is best for cardinals, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, and many insectivorous birds.
Suet is a mix of fat and birdseed that has been solidified for birds to eat to stay warm. Suet is kept in unique feeders for the birds to come and feed on it.
If you want to install one of these feeders, here is a detailed guide for you;
How To Hang Suet Feeders
You need to hang a suet feeder the correct way to ensure the birds can eat and none of it gets wasted.
Suet will attract many different bird species, so you need to make sure you hang it correctly so it lasts.
You need to follow some tips when hanging a feeder to increase the number of birds feeding. The hanging style will also affect the birds that come to feed, so it is something you need to consider.
1.Hang it in a familiar environment
Hang the feeder in an environment that simulates that of the birds you want to attract. This environment will make them feel more comfortable eating at that spot since it is familiar.
If you want to attract nectar feeders, hang the suet near plants that produce nectar. If you want to attract woodpeckers, place the suet feeder near some tree branches or trunks.
While doing this, beware of squirrels since they can get to the feeders and eat all the seeds.
Avoid hanging the feeders directly on trees in areas with a squirrel population. You could also use a squirrel-proof feeder to protect the food.
2. Get a quiet place with minimal human activity
Feeders in areas like backyards are often more visited than those in busy places like a driveway or garage door. Birds are accustomed to most noises, but they are still shy and elusive animals.
Avoid hanging the feeder in places where people often use or with artificial noises. Placing the suet feeder near some natural sound source may attract some bird species to them but as a precaution, put it in a quiet area.
3. Aim for maximum visibility
Hang the suet feeder in an open place, and the birds can easily spot it. Placing them in an open and sunny spot makes them more visible to birds flying around the area.
A clear line of sight also makes the birds feel safer since they will see any approaching danger. More birds will gather at a place they feel safe.
Also, consider the bird’s personal space. Some birds like being alone, so the feeders should be spaced far apart to make them comfortable.
4. Keep the Bird’s safety in mind
While hanging a suet feeder, it is crucial to ensure the birds are safe both from humans and predators. A bird will only visit a feeder if it is safe for it.
Ensure there is some form of cover like bushes or trees about 15 feet away from the feeder. Cover will give the birds a place to retreat in case a predator is close by.
Ensure your backyard is cat-proof since cats will scare the birds away by hunting them. If you have used chemicals such as pesticides on your garden, keep the feeder away from the site.
This separation is because the chemicals can contaminate the seeds and poison the birds, which can be fatal in most cases.
Small birds are delicate, and accidents like window collisions could be fatal for them. Place the feeder either very close to the window or very far away.
This distance will mean that the bird either doesn’t gain enough speed to get hurt or has enough space to avoid the window.
How To Select The Best Bird Seed
If you want to attract more birds with a wider variety of species to your home, you need to understand what the birds like.
The seeds are an essential part of suet, and selecting the right seeds may determine the number of birds you get.
High-quality seeds will provide better value with reduced weight and wastage. The best type of seed to use is one with high amounts of sunflower, nyjer, thistle, or safflower.
You can buy all these seeds and make your blend that will work best. You can add some fruits and nuts to increase the size and feed some of the birds that like them.
Economy mixes will have more filler which will lead to a messy ground. The birds will pick out the seeds and let the rest fall to the ground, which will be hard for you to clean.
If you want to attract a broader range of birds, you need to add a wider variety of seeds to your mix.
Black oil sunflower is the most popular for birds, and it attracts many of them. It has a lot of fats, and its shell is easy for most birds to penetrate.
Safflower attracts many smaller birds, and squirrels don’t like them, so they work as a deterrent. Corn is also a favorite of many birds, just like peanuts.
To make the best suet, use a combination of as many bird seeds as possible so that each species has its favorite in the bunch.
If you only want a specific group to feed, you can limit the seed you use in the suet to only those liked by the birds you want.
Why Use A Suet Feeder?
You could have traditional bird feeders on your property, and you are wondering why you should shift from them to suet feeders. Here are some benefits and reasons to use suet feeders, especially during winter;
- Suet has a lot of fat which helps keep them warm during winter. It has more carbohydrates than regular feeds; thus, it is more helpful in building reserves for winter.
- Suet feeders attract a more comprehensive range of birds since they contain a variety of seeds. If you are interested in watching the birds, this would be an easy way to do it.
- They are designed not to melt. Therefore, they will stay intact as the birds eat at the suet until it is done, thus minimizing littering of the feeding space.
- They are easy to maintain. All you need to do is open the cage and place a new block or the next day or two. For traditional feeders, you would have to come and check to see if they are empty. With suet feeders, you can look through the window and notice its size.
- Suet feeders keep away squirrels which could eat all the food before the birds get to it. Most cages are designed so the only birds can feed on the suet, thus keeping away destructive squirrels.
- It is a great way to replace food sources that have been destroyed by development and urbanization. Therefore, they will give a needed energy boot to birds migrating past the area with the suet feeder.
Disadvantages Of Feeding Wild Birds
Bird feeding has a lot of benefits both to humans and birds. We, however, cannot overlook some of the dangers that bird feeding poses to nature and humans. Here are some problems that can be associated with bird feeding;
- There is an increased risk of spreading diseases. If you don’t handle the feeders and food correctly, you could cause a severe spread of infections.
Infections are a concern since so many birds of different species come to one point for food. To prevent this, clean the feeder as clean as possible and clean the areas around your feeder.
If you see a sick bird in the feeder, take it down for a few days to prevent the disease from spreading.
- An increased presence of bigger predatory birds. Predators scout areas looking for a place with a lot of birds they can eat.
Feeders make many birds come to one place; thus, they become more likely victims of predators.
- Window collisions are another issue that comes up when feeders are concerned. Birds often fly into windows and kill themselves. You can prevent this by keeping the feeders away from windows or close to them.
You need to look into some essential factors when hanging a suet feeder so that it works best for you and the birds.
Ensure there is a clear line of sight so that you can see the birds; they can see the food and watch out for predators.
There are a lot of benefits to using suet feeders. They help the birds survive during winter by building their fat reserves.
Suet feeders are not a good choice for summer or sunny areas since extreme heat could cause them to melt.
Ensure you clean the feeders regularly to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and the spread of diseases.
Keep the feeders away from windows or keep them close to windows if you don’t have space to protect the birds.