About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why I feed suet year round

The woodpeckers are coming to the feeders like crazy right now!!! How long do you think we’ll be feeding suet? Shirley

Commercially prepared suet cakes are safe for year round feeding. If it is hung out in the sun, use a suet with a high melting point or a seed cake available at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Besides the usual woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees, during the spring and summer you may even attract orioles, warblers and more with suet.

You can feed suet year round?

Baby Woodpecker at FeederImage by likeaduck via Flickr
Baby woodpecker at feeder.
Yes I love to watch the woodpeckers. Right now their natural sources of food are scarce and they appreciate feeders. Then after the first rains and warmer weather rolls in to Michigan the activity at the feeder decreases as the bug population increases. But they soon return with little bundles of joy.

The reason I feed suet in the summer is to watch as harried parent birds bring their babies up close and try to convince them to feed themselves.

I’ve never done that. Thank you for your response. I’ve leaned so much :-))


Anonymous said...

Will the woodpeckers leave your house alone if you put out feeders with suet in it?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Some people have had good luck using that technique. Some other strategies to Control Woodpecker Damage:

1. Check for insects. Woodpeckers feed on insects in wood.
2. Cover all damage as soon as possible. Place aluminum flashing over the areas where the woodpecker is pecking. The flashing will stop the pecking at that spot because: a) it is metal, b) it changes the sound, and c) woodpeckers don't like shiny objects. Just make sure that the woodpecker is not living in your home.
3. Scare the woodpecker away using one or more of the following:
- Mylar tape: Wild Birds Unlimited has some Mylar tape (1-inch-wide strips) flutter ribbon you can hang in the area. Woodpeckers don't like shiny objects. If you don't have Mylar, hang tinfoil, aluminum pie plates, or old CDs or DVDs.
- Mylar balloons: The dollar stores usually have shiny Mylar balloons you can hang in the area.
- Garden hose: One animal damage controller recommends placing a garden hose with a sprinkler set at an angle to reach where the bird is drumming. The woodpeckers leave after a few squirts because they don't like hanging on to wet structures.
- Attack spider: This is a relatively new (2003) technique. A large spider drops down at the first knock to scare woodpeckers through sight and motion. These can be found at party stores now. It also scares little trick or treaters. Bonus!
- Owl effigies: These are only effective if you are willing to move them around on a daily basis. I don’t really recommend these but we usually carry them at Wild Birds Unlimited.
- Exclusion techniques: If woodpeckers are damaging your siding under an eave, hang some netting from the eave line down to the ground. If the net is extended away from the house wall, the woodpecker can't get close enough to damage the wood.
- Place a woodpecker house over the damaged area.

Also, as soon as you notice problems, take action quickly before the woodpecker decides your home is a nice place to live.