BirdNote®: Who Likes Suet?
Air Date: Week of October 18, 2019
Northern Flickers are big fans of suet in the cooler months. (Photo: Courtesy of BirdNote)
If you’re looking to feed the birds, seeds aren’t the only snacks you can offer. There’s also suet, a type of fat that comes from cows and sheep and is packed with energy. BirdNote’s Mary McCann has more about which birds like suet best.
DOERING: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Jenni Doering.
CURWOOD: And I’m Steve Curwood.
CURWOOD: If you’re looking to feed the birds, seeds aren’t the only snacks you
can offer. There’s also suet, a type of fat that comes from cows and sheep and is packed with energy. BirdNote’s Mary McCann tells us more about which birds like suet best.
Who Likes Suet?
[Tufted Titmouse song, https://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/192213, 0,16-.19] Fall is a great time to put out a suet feeder. Suet cakes are mostly fat, giving birds a high energy boost to help them survive the cold weather. Who likes suet? It’s a long and varied list. [White-breasted Nuthatch call, https://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176168, 0.04-.07]
Typical visitors include chickadees and titmice, nuthatches, jays, and woodpeckers.
And keep an eye out for other birds at your suet feeder, especially those whose beaks can’t open seeds. Tiny kinglets, among the smallest of all songbirds, sometimes hover at the feeder. Wrens love a bite of suet, too, as well as almost any kind of sparrow or wintering warbler. [Bewick’s Wren song, https://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/187044, 0.07-.10]
Alas, non-native European Starlings also find suet hard to resist. But there are suet feeders designed to exclude starlings while letting the regular native birds get to the good stuff. One of those native birds is the Brown Creeper. It’s an especially cool bird to discover at your feeder, because it’s most often glimpsed disappearing briskly up the trunk of a tree. In the West, mobs of tiny Bushtits sometimes blanket a chunk of suet, taking a break from their normal diet of insects and spiders. It’s high time to hang up the suet feeder.
I’m Mary McCann.
Written by Bob Sundstrom Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Jay W McGowan, Geoffrey A Keller and Bob McGuire. BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler. Producer: John Kessler Managing Producer: Jason Saul Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone © 2017 Tune In to Nature.org October 2018/2019 Narrator: Mary McCann
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