In cold weather, nothing gets most birds’ attention like suet! They need the calories and fat to keep their body temperature up when the insects they would be eating in warmer weather aren’t around. A good substitute in cold weather is yummy fatty suet. Making suet the old-fashioned way can be a greasy, messy job done best by raiding the bacon grease can. If you are a vegetarian, the ingredients have to be begged from a neighbor as the base has always been animal fat until now. Here’s a great recipe for suet which replaces animal fat with shortening and nut butter, and it’s easy to make regardless of your diet. Plus, the birds will love it and thank you for providing the high energy food they need in really cold weather. Suet is a good addition to your regular feeders as not all birds eat suet, and many birds really like having variety. If you want to encourage woodpeckers, a feeder with a tail support so they can balance more easily will be especially appreciated. And don’t forget to have clean, fresh water available in a heated birdbath for them throughout the winter so your feathered pals don’t dehydrate.
Downy Woodpecker on suet feeder; Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila