If you are lucky, each spring a pair of great crested flycatchers will choose to nest in your backyard.  During their brief time with you they will dine on a protein-rich diet of spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, butterflies, moths and other assorted invertebrates.  These critters are so important to these large, loud flycatchers they comprise more than ninety-five percent of their diet.  About the only other food they consume is a smattering of fruits and berries.

In spite of the fact these birds often live within sight of your feeders, they rarely drop in and sample the cuisine you offer at your backyard bird cafe. In fact, until recently I had personally never heard of a great crested flycatcher feeding at a feeder.

That changed recently when Ron Lee, a Henry County backyard wildlife enthusiast, reported he witnessed a great crested flycatcher feeding on suet.  The bird did not dine on suet offered in a mesh suet feeder.  Instead the hungry ate bits of suet littering the ground beneath the feeder. 

Wow! I wish that I had witnessed this rare event.

It will be interesting to see if this proves to be a onetime event or the bird will continue to take advantage of this new food.

I think it would be great if this great crested flycatcher is a trend setter and other members of its feathered clan will follow its lead and begin feeding at our feeders too.


  1. Hello. I live in Gainesville Florida and I Just witness what I believe to be a Great Crested Fly Catcher eating from the suet in the mesh feeder on my bird seed pole. I’m assuming this is the type of bird it is. It is actually much more yellow and has a crest but it is the only thing I can find online or in my birding books that I can relate it to. I’ve been trying to figure out if a immature great crested flycatcher is more yellow. I have pictures from just now however it is holding its crest down and never revealed it in this visit. The last two days I saw at land on the pole and I did see its crest. He was very timid and flew away very quickly. I guess he finally got brave enough to try the suet. Yay!

  2. My apologies! I take it back We just figured it out It is a female summer tanager! I am still delighted!

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