Oct 5, 2016 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2016

Suet Feeder Types

Woodpeckers are more comfortable at feeders that provide a tail prop.

The most affordable suet feeder is a square metal "cage." It has a door that opens and latches closed after filling. Many people hang it from a shepherd's hook, a tree branch, or a deck rafter, but such a free-hanging arrangement is difficult for larger woodpeckers to use.

Woodpeckers naturally feed with their tail propped against the trunk of a tree for stability. Some suet cages are built with a tail prop underneath to accomplish this, or a simple cage can be mounted against a wooden post or tree. Some platform feeders have suet cages built in, and the design often allows woodpeckers a place to perch comfortably as they dine on the fatty treat.

Starling-proof suet feeders allow access to the suet only from the bottom; the roof and sides are solid, but the bottom is wire mesh. Such feeders make it difficult—but not impossible—for starlings to get to the suet, but woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, and most other birds that enjoy suet have no problem getting to it. Create your own suet feeder by drilling holes into a small log, and filling them tightly with suet and/or peanut butter. Drill a hole and install a metal eye, and suspend the log with wire.

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  • How long do other seeds stay fresk? Sunflower seeds? Millet? Safflower?
    by Sue, Sat, 06 Feb 2021
  • I understand that the ducks' blood vessel arrangement in their feet is to provide the benefits of the counter-current heat exchanger mechanism; returning cold venous blood from the feet is warmed by the descending warm arterial blood, preventing excess heat loss by the feet and avoiding cold blood from chilling the body. This means that the feet are cold, not warm.
    by Frank Barch, Sat, 02 Jan 2021
  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020