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    How to Feed a Bird Suet

    Filling a bird suet feeder.

    Bird suet is a great alternative to offering birds seed and nectar and can be a great way to attract a variety of birds to your yard.

    What is Bird Suet?

    Bird suet is a type of fat from beef that is rendered (heated then cooled) and then cut in to squares and sold as "suet cakes". Suet cakes are also sold with other ingredients mixed in such as sunflower seeds, berries, nuts, fruits, and more.

    Suet is considered a high energy bird food because it consists of fat. A gram of fat contains 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates or protein. Thus, birds get more calories when they consume fat. Bird suet is an especially good bird food for cold weather bird feeding. Because they spend more energy just to keep warm, birds need more calories in the winter. If offered in the summer, keep bird suet in the shade to prevent melting, or look for no-melt, or melt-resistant bird suet cakes for feeding birds in hot weather.

    How to Offer Bird Suet to Wild Birds

    Bird suet is offered in a special type of bird feeder known as a bird suet feeder. A suet feeder is a plastic coated-wire mesh square container into which the suet cake neatly fits. Suet feeders can come with up to four chambers which is perfect for offering multiple flavors of suet. Some suet feeders come with roofs to help protect the suet cakes from weather.

    Protect the Bird Suet

    Suet feeders can be hung from any bird feeder pole, from trees, and deck hooks. Most birds that eat suet are tree-dwelling, so it helps if you have a wooded habitat nearby. Since gray squirrels will eat suet, the suet feeders must be protected just like your bird feeders. Place a baffle on the bird feeder pole and place the pole at least 12-15 feet or more from any place a squirrel can jump from. If that's not possible, place a cage around the bird suet. Birds can enter the openings in the cage, but a squirrel cannot.

    Types of Birds Attracted to Bird Suet

    Bird suet is a magnet for woodpeckers such as Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Chickadees, Titmice, White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches will also flock to your yard for bird suet. Many other birds can also be enticed to your yard with suet, especially suet with added ingredients like nuts, berries and fruit. Interesting birds like Orioles, Carolina Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, Brown Creepers and Mockingbirds may come and eat suet.