When I was little, my world consisted of mostly my parents’ house and our yard, before I was able to venture out into the neighborhood as I got older. Fortunately for me, Mom was quite the bird watcher, and she loved to invite birds and other wildlife to our yard using a combination of natural hiding places, bird houses, and a veritable buffet of assorted seeds and nuts. This gave me a great deal of entertainment when I looked out into our yard, as I learned to identify the many different birds and mammals which so happily took advantage of the mini wildlife haven she had established in our back yard. One of the things she would put out, which was eagerly accepted by a variety of our feathered friends, were suet cakes and suet balls. Suet cakes have been used outdoors by birders to feed local wildlife for a very long time, primarily in the fall and winter months when it was cooler so the suet was much less likely to melt.
Suet has evolved a bit over the years, with several different companies offering suet cakes and suet balls with a higher tolerance to warm weather, making it possible to offer this tasty treat to the local bird population all year long. New delivery systems and holders for suet have become available, as well, providing even more choices for the backyard bird watcher to use and to make it easier to provide things like seed and suet to the yard. PetSolutions just added some new suet feeders and fillers which I think would be right at home in the back yard of my childhood, and they are made by a company called Wildlife Sciences.
The suet feeder that caught my eye first from the company is their Suet Ball Dispenser, which is meant to hold up to five suet balls. This suet ball feeder is great, in that it is gravity controlled and is meant to keep suet available for your outdoor birds over time by allowing one suet ball at a time to be eaten. As the bottom suet ball is pecked away at and eaten, the ball above it in the feeder begins to slide down to take the place of the ball which has been eaten. The Suet Ball Dispenser will continue to dispense these balls until all five have been eaten. Five packs of refill suet balls are available, and they are available in four different flavors. If you have a problem with squirrels getting onto this feeder and not letting the birds get to it, one of the flavors of suet balls available is a hot pepper ball. This won’t bother the birds, but it will give the squirrel a mouth full of four alarm chili and make it rethink its plans to regularly visit that feeder! Other flavors of replacement suet balls include Fruit & Nut, Peanut Butter, and Mealworms & Nuts. This feeder is what I would refer to as a more “long haul” feeder. Meaning, it will keep all of your suet balls from being consumed in a weekend by a huge feeding frenzy of birds. It restricts the surface area of suet available at one time.
The second suet feeder is also meant to hold suet balls. The Mesh Suet Ball Bird Feeder Tube with Roof is wire mesh and does not restrict access to one suet ball at a time. It allows birds to get to all of the food at one time, and will support more birds feeding at once. If you don’t mind refilling more frequently, and are spending more time outdoors being around the creatures you are feeding, this may be the better choice for you.
Regardless of whether you use a suet ball feeder, or the more traditional suet cakes in a square cage dispenser, your birds will absolutely love to have suet on the menu, especially during the cold winter months. But, they will feel the benefits from suet all year round.