Suet wildly popular at Larrapin

Posted on Jun 6, 2009 | 4 comments


This photo is from a couple of weeks ago now, so now I can’t tell if this is one of the downy woodpeckers or one of the hairy woodpeckers that frequent the suet feeder. The downy is about half the size of the hairy. The hairy, true to the name, has small but dramatic white whiskers on either side of his beak, which is at least twice as long proportionally as the downy’s.

The suet is also a favorite of the red-bellied woodpeckers, nuthatches, and even the summer tanagers. The jays visit (only) occasionally (thank goodness). Even chickadees and carolina wrens will take a snack now and then. Most years we make our own suet blocks using lard, cornmeal, peanut butter, oatmeal and various yummy treats but this year we’ve gotten lazy and have bought blocks.

After the January 2009 ice storm, a local birder said on the radio that it might create some hard years for woodpeckers, because pretty much every stick of rotten or weakened wood — the very places woodpeckers find the grubs and bugs they eat —  was now gone. Mother Nature can be a ferocious pruner of trees, as we learned very well in that experience.  So we’ve been extra attentive to keep the suet feeder going longer in the year than we usually do. We many just continue year round now that they are spoiled. (You can buy or make suet that won’t melt in the heat. We have so many diners, it gets eaten in no time…but if you don’t have as many, watch out for mold and discard right away.)

Just the other day we watched at the kitchen window as a mother hairy woodpecker was joined at the suet by her youngster, who was very loud and demanding. Mom ate a few bites, then would stuff his gullet with suet a few times, then go back to eating.  She had passed on the location of the best diner in town, the way we share directions around here for the best barbeque places!

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  1. I’m looking forward to getting some birdfeeders out at the new house!

  2. Love your blog! If you provide for the wildlife, they will come! Life is richer for having the birds, butterflies etc.

  3. What a great post to wake up to!

    • Great to hear from you Manon! You are waking up just as I decided, since it’s a d-lux do-anything Saturday, to climb back in and go back to sleep! haha! Thanks for your note!