BLOGGERS SHARE SUET TIPS
Two bloggers have taken the time and effort to share with us their tips regarding suet. This information is very helpful. With a dizzying variety of suets available to us, it is great to know what works and what doesn’t.
Joan wrote to say that she makes her own suet. Her suet recipe consists of lard and a mixture of sunflower and millet seeds. She went on to say that her birds prefer it to commercial woodpecker blocks. She also added that since her suet melts when daily temperatures begin rising at the end of winter, she stops feeding it to her birds in early spring.
Brooks commented that he stopped stocking his suet feeders with peanut butter suet because hungry squirrels like it too much. In an effort to remedy this problem, he now stocks his feeders with suet laced with hot pepper flakes. The suet containing hot pepper flakes doesn’t seem to bother the birds, but the squirrels don’t like it.
If you have found a suet that either works great or doesn’t work at all, let me know about it.
YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH A CHIPPING SPARROW MUST EAT TO SURVIVE THE WINTER
The feeding activity around my bird feeders has picked up over the past few weeks. One of the birds that is becoming more common with each passing week is the chipping sparrow. Although it is small, weighing only 0.43 ounces, it has a hefty appetite.
Ornithologists have found that a chipping sparrow must eat some two pounds of seeds to survive the winter. In other words, a winter flock of 24 chipping sparrows will consume 48 pounds of seed before spring arrives.
What is even more amazing is that much of their diet consists of tiny seeds. Most folks offer chipping sparrows and other birds mixed seed. Such mixes often include canary seed, white millet, and rape. I prefer to offer these petite winter residents white millet.
While I am certain that the chipping sparrows that visit my white millet feeders do not rely exclusively on food I offer them, I am glad my seed offerings are helping ensure I these birds will be visiting my yard for years to come.
CEDAR WAXWINGS HAVE ARRIVED IN OUR BACKYARD
For the past few weeks, winter visitors have been arriving in our Middle Georgia backyard. Yesterday cedar waxwings made their first appearance.
While my wife and I were checking out the plants growing in containers on our deck, I activated my Merlin Bird Identification App. In in matter of seconds, the app detected the call notes of a cedar waxwing. Once the bird’s name appeared, I looked for the bird(s) in the trees and shrubs growing nearby. When I did not see one, I decided that Merlin had made a mistake.
Seconds later, I was proven wrong when a flock of a couple of dozen cedar waxwings swooshed in from the northwest and landed in the top of a tall red cedar tree. As the birds flew from limb to limb searching for the tree’s small berries, a slightly smaller flock joined them. We watched the birds disappearing in and out of the cedar’s thick canopy, for a few minutes, when without warning the cedar waxwings took to the air and flew over the house.
Although cedar waxwings visit our yard each winter, we do not consider them a feeder bird simply because they have never visited our feeders. Here they feed exclusively on red cedar and mistletoe berries.
However, data collected through Project FeederWatch indicate they will dine on dried fruits. One of their favorite dried fruits is raisins. There are reports that cedar waxwings can devour a half a pint of raisins in a matter of minutes. The birds will also eat halved and chopped apples and other fruits.