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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  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021
  • This breaks my heart. God strengthen your spirit and comfort your heart.I am fortunate to be taking a vacation next month, hopefully before sky high inflation hits and I can no longer afford it.
    by Ironweeds, Fri, 27 Aug 2021
  • What is emptying my jelly feeder overnight.
    by Gary Vandervest, Wed, 25 Aug 2021
  • Thank you, Dawn. I'm close enough to Ohio (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that I went ahead and took my tubes down and scoured clean all my bird baths. I won't put up my tubes this winter, just my trays and safflower only just to keep the bullies away for a while.
    by Pat Moore, Mon, 09 Aug 2021