With the emergence of ketogenic diet, as one that has the most successful track record of losing weight and improving health in a variety of ways, people are finally getting clued in that the carb-loaded food pyramid inflicted by our corrupted government was a giant and dangerous scam.
The information on fat as standing for the major and healthy source of energy, while carbohydrates can’t even be counted as essential nutrients, is slowly seeping into the public consciousness. The same applies to animals.
Some bird species like hummingbirds, due to their unique makeup and flight capability, have special energy requirements, but for most animal species the truth about the value of fat stands just as valid as it does for humans.
And just as we are now discovering ketogenic diet all over again, as we actually evolved for tens of thousands of years on such a diet, so too are we rediscovering the bird suet food for birds.
What is Suet and Why Do Birds Like It?
Our elders knew the value of fat, before the agricultural lobby warped our perception of it. Therefore, it makes sense that they used it as a valuable energy source for birdfeed in the harsh winter months.
Bird suet is made from an assortment of fats, given that fats offer twice the caloric value per unit of weight compared to carbs and protein, and given the fact that birds can eat up to 1/4 to 1/3 of their body’s worth of weight – per day!
Such densely packed energy is especially convenient for birds due to their accelerated metabolism, one that is essential for their ability to fly. Additionally, fat gives birds that much needed prolonged energy boost for long flights when migrating. Or added energy to stay warm in the cold winter months. This is especially important if you live in northern regions where the winters can be brutal.
Consisting of both vegetable and animal fat, suet has an additional advantage of offering a wider range of taste which would fit the palate of most bird species. It is also just a nice addition to standard bird food that is offered in feeders.
Anything that has a large portion of fat per 100g would be a suitable ingredient for a suet:
- Peanut butter
- Beef fat
However, to keep things simple, you can create a bird suet by adding some type of fat to birdseed in a 1:1 ratio.
Birdseed can be either commercial or you can create your own by mixing up seeds, dried fruits, raisins, citron, currants, apricots, and grains. Then, you add fat in the form of melted fat (lard, beef) and peanut butter. If you can, try to use more vegetable fat, as it tends to become less rancid over time than animal fat. A suet predominantly made of animal fat should only be used in winter, so it doesn’t become rancid.
Mix it, refrigerate it, and you’ve got yourself a bird superfood. The shape of the suet can take any form that is most suited for the type of birdfeeders and birdhouses you have.
If you are not the DIY type of person, don’t worry, suet feed has commercially evolved to the point of even being offered as one that resists melting in the hot months of spring and summer. Walmart has suet available year-round in a variety of “flavors”.
Which Birds Eat Suet
Like we mentioned previously, the variety and nutritional value inherent in bird suet is amenable to attracting a wide range of bird species. However, you can especially count on the following birds to hone in on bird suet:
Robins, cardinals, catbirds, orioles, brown thrashers, blackbirds, blue jays, northern mockingbirds, thrushes, wrens, warblers, brown creepers, black-headed grosbeaks.
Tits, Carolina wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmouse, starlings, and Eurasian bullfinch.
A variety of woodpeckers: red-bellied, northern flickers, pileated, downy, red-headed, and hairy.
If you have any of those birds in your geographical area, you can count on your bird suet to be gone quickly, so refill it about twice a week, all year long. Be careful though to keep it out of reach of squirrels and cats.
Enticing the Birds with Suet
As you might have noticed, many of the birds listed who would enjoy suet have a habit of clinging to bark trees in order to scavenge for insects. Use this to your advantage by initially smearing the suet on the tree bark or log.
Once you see that you have attracted them, hang a suet cake in a meshed bag, or better yet, buy a commercial suet feeder. They are very cheap and available in a variety of stores.
To avoid putting the birds at risk for predation by cats and raccoons, try to hang the suet feeder at least 5 to 6 feet above ground. Additionally, keep in mind that birds are most likely to feed in the early morning and dusk.
And the more birds you attract, they less trouble you will have with the various insect pests assaulting your garden during spring and summer! You can also take to birdwatching as your new hobby, but without ever having to leave the comfort of your home!
How to Hang a Suet Feeder
Besides placing it at least 5 to 6 feet above ground, a suet feeder should also be as close to trees themselves, but not too close for cats to vault over!
If needed, saw off a couple of branches at the bottom, so they have a hard time climbing up, and so that you give birds an ample warning time.
Placing the suet in the immediate vicinity of a tree has a two-fold benefit:
- It exploits the evolved instinct of birds to congregate around and on trees in search of insects.
- It gives the suet feed a shade from the sun, so even if you don’t buy the melt-resisting suet, it would still hold on long enough for birds to gobble it up.
Smear the suet on the bark, hang the suet feeder on the nearby elevated branch, and in no time you will attract numerous variety of birds.