Suet is an excellent food to offer birds in your backyard. It is made up of beef fat and is a high energy, easily digested food especially valuable to birds in winter. Common backyard birds that readily eat suet are Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Wrens to name a few. Suet cakes are blocks of suet that are mixed with other ingredients such as corn, peanuts or fruit. Suet mixtures are also available in ball or bell form that can be hung anywhere and can be purchased at your local bird food retailer.
Providing suet cakes requires a special feeder. These range from larger wooden feeders with a built in tail rest for the larger species of Woodpeckers to small cages ideal for Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers. Either of these styles I like to hang from a tree branch because it is simple to do and the birds will find it quite quickly. Many of the hopper style feeders come with suet cages on either end.
Starlings are also big fans of suet. A group of these birds can devour a suet cake in less than a day. As a result my favorite way to offer suet is in a feeder that requires the birds to hang upside down. Starlings have a hard time hanging upside down and therefore will not be able to just sit and gorge themselves on your suet. Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Wrens have no problem hanging upside down so your feeder will attract the more desirable birds and your suet will last much longer. Make sure your feeder is hung high enough that Starlings can’t make repeated short flutters form the ground or a lower branch to your suet.
If you don’t already have a suet feeder in your backyard, talk to your local bird feed retailer and tell them you are interested in one. They will be able to provide you with a feeder and suet mixture that will work best for you. By offering suet you may just attract a couple of new species to your yard.