Surveys have shown that some 54 percent of those folks that feed birds feed suet. Consequently, it is obvious that we are spending a lot of money on this greasy treat. With that in mind, this past summer, I decided to conduct an informal test to see which of two flavors the birds in my backyard preferred.
During the study, the birds that most often visited my suet feeders were hairy and downy woodpeckers, brown thrashers, mockingbirds, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, brown-headed nuthatches, house finches, and northern cardinals.
I compared peanut butter flavored suet to one labelled as berry-flavored. I placed the suet cakes in wire suet feeders hung on a single Shepherd’s hook. Initially I planned to conduct the test over several months. However, after several weeks I ended the test after it became obvious that peanut butter suet was overwhelming preferred to berry-flavored suet. Remarkably, I fed a total of 17 peanut butter-flavored suet cakes before the cake of berry-flavored suet was finally eaten. Since then, I have purchased only peanut-butter flavored suet.
It would be interesting to know if results would have been different if I ran the same test at other times of the year.
However, before I expand by informal survey efforts, I am going to be feeding my backyard bird neighbors peanut butter-flavored suet.
I’ve made my own with lard, peanut butter, and millet/sunflower seeds. My bird prefer this over the commercial woodpecker blocks. Mine melt if it’s too warm so I stop these in early Spring when it starts to warm up.
Thanks for the suet tips. My wife and I have used homemade suet in the past, but never added anytthing to the lard and peanut but cornmeal. It is great to hear that adding seeds to it makes it more desirable to the birds.
Terry, I had to go to a suet that had Hot Pepper Flakes to stop the squirrels from eating all the suet. Peanut Butter is very good if you can outsmart the Squirrels. Home Depot sells Hot Pepper Suet.