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Birds at a suet feeder... What a burst of vitality on a chilly morning! What's the attraction? A cake of suet, suspended from a branch in a small wire feeder. Suet is beef fat, a high-energy food critical for birds' survival in the colder months. Suet is an especially strong magnet for birds (including this Northern Flicker) that eat lots of bugs in the warmer months. You can learn about suet feeders -- and what kinds of birds they'll attract -- at Birds.Cornell.Edu.
Winter Birds Love Suet
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
At this time of year, birds love fat!
With a brilliant flash of its copper-red underwings, a flicker sails into the yard. [Northern Flicker’s “keeyr”] Just behind it wings a stubby-tailed Red-breasted Nuthatch [Red-breasted Nuthatch’s “yank-yank-yank”]. Now a couple of energetic Black-capped Chickadees dart in [Short burst of “dee-dee-dee” notes], and a Downy Woodpecker brings up the rear. [Downy Woodpecker call] What a burst of vitality on a chilly morning.
What’s the attraction? A cake of suet, suspended from a branch in a small wire feeder. Suet is beef fat, a high-energy food critical for birds’ survival in the colder months. With few insects available in winter, suet is an especially strong magnet for birds that eat a lot of bugs in the warmer months. It’s also great for birds with bills that are not adapted to opening seeds.
Bird feeding suppliers now offer a wide array of processed suet cakes, some studded with berries or seeds. Perhaps a bird’s equivalent of a home-baked chocolate chip cookie. [Red-breasted Nuthatch’s “yank-yank-yank”]
Come to our website, birdnote.org, for more on suet feeders. And hurry, because here come the jays. They love suet, too. [Steller’s Jay calls]
For BirdNote, I'm Mary McCann.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Northern Flicker recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Red-breasted Nuthatch call recorded by W.L. Hershberger. Black-capped Chickadee call by S.R. Pantle, call of a Steller’s Jay by G.A. Keller, and Downy Woodpecker  call by W.W.H. Gunn.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org November 2018/2019 February 2023 Narrator: Mary McCann