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Suet – animal fat – is a quick source of heat and energy for insect-eating birds whose food supply dwindles in cold weather. Buy suet at butcher shops and some supermarkets, or purchase seed-and-suet cakes from pet shops and garden centers.
What You'll Need
Mounting & Maintenance
Birds attracted to suet, like woodpeckers and nuthatches, cling to the bark of trees in search of insects, so you'll want to hang the suet feeder near a tree trunk or attach it with round-head or lag screws to a post or building about 5 to 6 feet above the ground. Choose a place protected from harsh north and west winds. If you can situate the feeder near shrubs or conifers, all the better; the thick brush offers more shelter for the birds.
Winter suet feeding should begin in late October or early November and continue without interruption until spring. Birds develop feeding patterns and will stop visiting a feeder if there are interruptions in the food supply. Take the feeder down in early summer, clean it well, check all the fittings and put it in storage until it's time to bring it out again in late fall.
Maureen Mecozzi is a contributing editor to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.