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.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hot Pepper suet for the birds not the squirrels

I want to attract woodpeckers and chickadees to my suet but not the squirrels. Do you have any suet the squirrels won't attack? ~ Mason, MI

When you come into Wild Birds Unlimited you can choose from a variety of high quality seed and suet cakes that will attract a wide number of different bug eating birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and wrens.

The East Lansing store’s best seller is the peanut butter suet cake, which has only three ingredients: rendered beef fat, chopped peanuts and peanut butter. This is my favorite suet cake too (for my birds, I mean). I don't usually have any squirrels on this suet but if I did I would switch it up a little.

To repel squirrels and other mammals you can use the straight beef suet cake or the hot pepper suet cake. Most mammals will leave those two cakes alone. The hot pepper suet has Capsaicin as an ingredient. Capsaicin is the main chemical that makes chili peppers hot. However, birds don’t have the same receptors as mammals and will not be repelled by it.

Birds will happily eat the hottest of hot chili peppers, a fact so well known that some varieties are popularly known as "bird peppers." When small birds consume the fruits of wild peppers, the seeds pass through the gut undigested and, due to the birds' flight range, are deposited in distant places where they can grow with less competition. If the fruits were consumed by larger mammals the seeds would either be digested, or deposited much closer to the parent plant. Studies have shown that the seeds of wild peppers are in fact dispersed almost exclusively by birds.

Related Articles:
- What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje
- Can I make my own suet? http://bit.ly/rsc1JT
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq 
- Can I feed suet year-round? http://bit.ly/I4Ow8l

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