Gardening Articles: Health :: Garden Crafts
What About Suet Feeders? (page 2 of 2)
by Allison Childs Wells
A great variety of suet dispensers is available, not including the kinds like pinecones or logs you fashion yourself. Most common are simple wire cages sized and shaped to fit one commercial suet cake. But all types work well and discourage squirrels and what some people consider less-desirable bird species (blackbirds, grackles, and starlings) from invading.
If these or other suet thieves (raccoons and possums, even dogs, cats, and bears) appear and take over, your dispenser needs to be a little more creative. For instance, Duncraft offers Suet Haven ($22). It allows smaller woodpeckers and nuthatches to reach in but thwarts larger birds and most animals. Another approach is to shield the suet cake from all sides but the bottom, thus excluding birds that typically don't feed while upside down, such as starlings and grackles (Lyric's Selective Suet Holder, $17).
While you might place some seed feeders in full sun in an open location, suet dispensers are best in or near a tree and out of full sun to help prevent the suet from melting.
Join the Birdhouse Network
Do you have a birdhouse in your garden? Become part of the The Birdhouse Network (TBN), a continent-wide birdhouse monitoring project. Developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and funded in part by the National Science Foundation, TBN collects valuable information from participants about the birds they see in and around their birdhouses. To get started in TBN, only one birdhouse, which you provide, is necessary. For an annual fee of $15, you receive a subscription to Birdscope, access to the data entry portion of the Lab's Web site, and membership to an electronic mailing list where you can interact with other birdhouse landlords and with scientists at the ornithology lab. For more information or to sign up, call (800) 843-2473.
Ithaca, New York-based Alison Wells is director of communications and public outreach at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Photography by Michael MacCaskey (top) and John Goodman (bottom)