Updated: Jun 8
Suet feeders hold cakes of fat embedded with various seeds, fruits, and insects. They are great for attracting a variety of birds, including woodpeckers and nuthatches!
Before we begin, there are two items I need to address:
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Which Suet Feeder is Worth the Money?
Let's cut straight to the fat here... pause for laughter... If you spend more than $5 on a suet feeder, you have been had. This recommendation is easy because there is nothing complicated about a cage that holds a chunk of fat.
Best Overall Suet Feeder: C&S EZ Fill Suet Basket
This feeder is budget-friendly and effective. Don't be had. Be simple.
Large Suet Feeder
However if you have a large bird feeding budget...
Best Large Suet Feeder - Birds Choice 2-Cake Pileated Suet Feeder - Amazon
If you have a lot of large woodpeckers visiting your feeder, you may want a larger suet feeder. This feeder holds two cakes and provides more room to large woodpeckers like the Pileated Woodpecker. You can hang this feeder, or use the large keel to attach it to a platform feeder. It is made from recycled poly lumber, so it will have a long lifespan. Plus, being made from recycled materials makes us all feel good, right?
Buy a Suet Log
If you are handy, consider making a suet log (see below). However, if you are not handy, there are several suet logs available for purchase.
Vertical Suet Log - Pine Tree Farms 2-Pack Suet Feeder - Amazon
Horizontal Suet Log - Kettle Moraine Upside Down Suet Log - Amazon
Between these feeders, the upside down feeder is intriguing, as it can prevent starlings and other unfavorable species from using the feeder.
Build Your Own Suet Log
Suet feeders can be fairly easy to build! With a few simple steps, you build something like what is pictured below.
Find a downed tree or branch that is small to medium in diameter
Cut the log to a length of 12" or less
Drill 3-6 1 to 2" diameter holes in various places on the log
Hang your new log feeder
Attract Birds with a Native Plant Garden!
A growing trend in North America is to take the 40+ million acres of turfgrass and turn it back into native plants and habitat. There are a number of organizations involved in this, but the National Audubon Society is one at the forefront of the movement. Native plants provide natural food sources that cannot be matched by bird feeders, especially in the breeding season. Why? Insects. Nestlings need insects for healthy growth, and insects (like caterpillars) need native plants.
Downy Woodpecker on Homemade Suet Log Feeder flickr photo by Trisha Shears, used under a Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.