Oct 5, 2016 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2016

Suet Feeder Types

Woodpeckers are more comfortable at feeders that provide a tail prop.

The most affordable suet feeder is a square metal "cage." It has a door that opens and latches closed after filling. Many people hang it from a shepherd's hook, a tree branch, or a deck rafter, but such a free-hanging arrangement is difficult for larger woodpeckers to use.

Woodpeckers naturally feed with their tail propped against the trunk of a tree for stability. Some suet cages are built with a tail prop underneath to accomplish this, or a simple cage can be mounted against a wooden post or tree. Some platform feeders have suet cages built in, and the design often allows woodpeckers a place to perch comfortably as they dine on the fatty treat.

Starling-proof suet feeders allow access to the suet only from the bottom; the roof and sides are solid, but the bottom is wire mesh. Such feeders make it difficult—but not impossible—for starlings to get to the suet, but woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, and most other birds that enjoy suet have no problem getting to it. Create your own suet feeder by drilling holes into a small log, and filling them tightly with suet and/or peanut butter. Drill a hole and install a metal eye, and suspend the log with wire.

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