Sunday, November 12, 2006

New suet feeder!

This is a new suet feeder that I bought a few weeks ago at Wild Birds Unlimited - it doesn't seem to have a catchy name, but then it's just a hunk of wood with a few holes drilled where you stuff the suet. Mine came pre-filled, but when the birds have emptied it, the store sells new suet plugs.

Suet provides extra calories that birds use to keep warm during the winter. Some people also feed suet during the summer, but I don't do much bird-feeding then, other than the goldfinches.

The birds ignored the new feeder for a few weeks; it's only in the last few days that it's getting any action. The starlings and grackles are staying away for now, and the squirrels are, too. (I probably just jinxed myself by saying that...)

I'm hoping that the chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and even the Carolina Wrens will use this feeder, in addition to the woodpeckers. So far I've only seen the Downies at it, but the other birds are more interested in the new peanut feeder. I spent an hour or so this afternoon watching the jays and titmice come and go. There were even a few white-throated sparrows carrying off the peanut tidbits dropped by the bigger birds above them.

I would love to see a Pileated Woodpecker at this feeder, but they're not in this area. Who knows, maybe they are and I just haven't spotted one yet. Pileateds are another nemesis bird of mine.

While this isn't a great pic, you can see how this female (no red cap) is using her tail feathers to prop herself against the feeder, the same way she would do while feeding in a tree. I had wondered if birds would find anything to grip onto with this feeder, because the surface is so smooth, but it looks as though she has her feet gripped onto the lip of the suet plug.

13 comments:

Susan Gets Native said...

My mom has one of those feeders, and I have sent her Julie's suet recipe so she can stuff it in there and her PILEATEDs can enjoy it. Stinker...I have only seen pileateds about 2 miles away from here, but not in the yard yet.

LauraHinNJ said...

You're still trying to get me out that way, aren't you? ;-)

I once saw a shadow fly overhead in the Adirondacks that another birder said was a Pileated. That's as close as I've been.

I have a friend that has them come to her feeders, but she lives next to a nice forest.

John said...

Pileateds are pretty common around here, which surprises me because our parks are all surrounded by dense housing. In NJ, I have seen them mostly at the Great Swamp and other spots in North Jersey.

Ruth said...

We have a number of Downy woodpeckers in our area. They are especially fond of pecking holes in the wood siding of our house. I hear the distinctive tap-tap from inside, but it is very hard to scare them away. They are such cheerful birds.

Mary said...

I was just in Wild Birds Unlimited this weekend to buy song bird food. I'll need to check out the suet feeder next time.

-llm. said...

Laura, I'm with you. Pileateds are known in this area but I've never seen one around here. I did see what HAD to be a Pileated fly overhead while I was on vacation but didn't get a good enough look at it to be SURE. Sigh.

I love that feeder and it's on my list. I would definitely make my own suet to shove in there -- I'm thinking that a cake decorator might make a great tool for stuffing the cavaties but I'd have to see it. Cool feeder!

Sandy said...

Hurray! I didn't get the totems page, again!

Nice feeder, I like nature looking things best. We do have pileated woodpeckers, but I hear them much more than I see them.

Dave said...

Nice feeder. I have to add that to my to get list. I'm sure the chickadee's and nuthatches would love it.

Patrick Belardo said...

Cool feeder! Nothing has come to my suet yet. I'm giving it another week tops. I have the traditional cage suet feeder with the little "paddle" for the birds to prop against.

Have you ever made your own suet?

dguzman said...

I would love to see a pileated too! I have downies and hairies, but no pileateds yet (in Central PA). I have a little green cage suet cake feeder (from the grocery store) plus I found a great flat-topped log that I'm going to drill some big holes into, then I'l smear suet/peanut butter into them. I like the natural look too. Nice photo!

Lynne said...

I have a suet feeder like yours and the birds just love it. I've been buying suet plugs for it, but I'm going to try Liza's recipe from The Egret's Nest.

word verification: ooeeenq !!

Michelle (DKM) said...

Sadly, the only thing a suet feeder attracts at my house is gulls and more gulls, oh and gulls... and the occasional field mouse.

LauraHinNJ said...

John: Yes, the Great Swamp and thereabouts, but I don't get up that way often. How lucky you are that they're common by you!

Ruth: I've read that people have that sort of problem. Hopefully, they are just proclaiming their territory and not searching for insects! A few years ago we had a red-belly woodpecker that liked to drum on our gutters - what a racket!

Mary: WBU has so many neat things - I try to stay away!

-llm: Yea, I'm not so sure how hard it's going to be to refill it.

Sandy: Is Blogger behaving badly for you? ;-) Sorry. I'd bet you have lots of great birds in your Maine woods!

Dave: The house sparrows seem to like it today also. ;-( Do you have them in Alaska even?

Patrick: I made my own once - pretty messy - too much like cooking. ;-)

Delia: Somehow, I knew you'd be able to make your own!

Lynne: I'm tempted to try that recipe too, but I don't want to have to clean the pot afterwards! Do the plugs go in easy when you replace them?

DKM: Gulls? At a suet feeder? Now I've heard everything! I thought squirrels and starlings were a pain.