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Why are birds not coming to my suet feeder?

Why are birds not coming to my suet feeder?

Watching birds around the feeders in the yard or balcony is one of the beautiful feelings. We get lost in their chirping or buzzing sounds and admire their colorful & unique feathers. But sometimes, you might notice that even after providing proper food and hanging the suet feeder in the proper location, the birds have not arrived at the feeder. So, let’s have a look at the reasons why they are not coming to your suet feeder.

Birds are not coming to your suet feeder due to visibility problems for the suet feeder, suet becoming dry or smelly, the suet being taken away by predators such as squirrels and lacking the water source.

Which birds get attracted to the suet feeder?

Birds not only eat seeds, but they also like to eat from suet cakes. This suet is the fat found around the kidneys and loins of mutton & beef. It is safe for the birds to eat the suet, as it can be easily digested by them. It also provides them high energy for performing various activities and also helps them to maintain a warm body temperature in the cold weather.

There are many big & small birds that get attracted to the suet feeder, and they are:


Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, & Northern Flicker.

Chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, tits, and other small birds

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Black-Capped Chickadee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Cactus Wren, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse,Bridled Titmo use, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Bushtit, Eurasian Bullfinch & Brown Creeper.

Orioles, grosbeaks, thrushes, and other big passerines

Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Varied Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, European Robin, Eastern Bluebird, & Gray Catbird.

Jays, Blackbirds, and other corvids

Blue Jay, Gray Jay, Steller’s Jay, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, European Starling, & Red-Winged Blackbird.

How to attract birds to suet feeder?

If you are planning to hang the suet feeder to attract different birds to your yard, then here are some of the ways through which you can attract the birds to your suet feeder.

Add more fruits and nuts

Fruits and nuts are crunchy to eat and are loved by the birds as a treat. Therefore you can add more of these foods to increase the suet’s nutritional value and attract the birds.

Offer some perching support

Birds like to enjoy nature and keep a watch on the predator while they have their food from the feeder. Therefore, it would be best if you provide some support where they can rest and enjoy their food.

Hang the suet feeder high

Hanging the suet feeder high on the tree will attract the birds’ attention and attract them to this suet feeder.

Why are birds not coming to my suet feeder?

Birds have excellent cognitive skills, and they remember everything, like the feeder location, water source, etc. So once they visit your suet feeder, they can easily come there the next time. But, if you have put the feeder up and still don’t notice the new guests for a few days, then there is some problem you should look into. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why the birds are not coming.

Put up the feeder for the first time

If you have put the feeder up for the first time, the birds might take a few days and even weeks to discover the suet feeder. Birds don’t get an instinct that the new feeder is located at a particular location. They usually discover the feeders during their migration journey or when they search for food to boost their energy.

Added excessive sugary ingredients in the suet

If you had made the suet at home and added more sugary ingredients in the suet to attract the birds, then you actually did it wrong. You might have thought that all the birds are attracted and like to eat sweet items, but not all birds like sweet items; instead, the birds which like to eat suet like more nutritional food like peanut butter, oats, nuts, etc.

Suet has become dry

Many times it happens that we buy the items in bulk to save some money. It is fine if you have bought the suet in bulk, but it should be properly stored. And if it’s not done, the suet might become stale or dry. And if the bird tastes such suet, then there are chances that it might not come again to your feeder.

Squirrels have taken up the feeder

Squirrels always like eating from the suet hung for the birds. As they have strong tree climbing skills and can jump at a good distance, they easily manage to get to the feeders and eat the suet as it contains peanuts. So if the birds notice that the squirrels have already had their treat, they might not come to your feeder.

There is no water source nearby

Similar to humans, even birds want to drink the water. Birds need water to clean their beaks and wings after eating the seeds or suet. They also enjoy bathing in the water after their long migration journey. So if there is no water source near your house, then this might be one of the reasons that the birds are not coming to your feeder.

The feeder is put in the busy areas

Birds like to feed in areas where there is no disturbance or any human activity. They also see if the predators are usually around the feeder location or not. If they find that the feeder is located where they have a threat from the predators or other animals, they might still not come to your suet feeder.

Not keeping the feeders full enough

If you are not refilling the feeder quickly once they are finished, you are likely to lose your guests. If the bird has arrived at your yard and notices that the feeder is empty, then there are chances that it might not bother again and come to your feeder.

As we have looked at the reasons why the birds are not coming to your feeder, now let us look at some solutions or things that needs to be done to attract more birds to your feeder.

Be Patient

Be patient and give some time to the birds to know your feeder location. They will come to know about it when they wander searching for food. Once they arrive at your feeder and like the delicious food you have kept for them, then they might even call their fellow mates to join them in the treat.

Provide nutritious food to the birds

Birds who like to eat suet prefer eating nutritious food that will give them energy and keep their bodies warm in the cold months. Therefore in the suet, you can add items like nuts, fruits, oats, etc., that provide nutritional value. You can also offer the birds peanut butter suet as a treat and add some peanuts to make it tasty.

Provide fresh suet to the birds

Birds prefer fresh suet that is added with healthy food items that are tasty and provide them energy throughout the day. Pre-packaged suet cakes already have everything added to them that the birds would like to eat. But, if you like to make the suet cake at home, then you can manually add the nutritional food items to it so that they can enjoy their treat.

Use squirrel-proof feeder

Keeping squirrels and raccoons away from the feeder has always been a challenge for most feeder owners. So, the best solution to it is to buy a squirrel-proof feeder to keep these unwanted guests away from the feeder. Otherwise, if you already have the regular feeder, then you can buy the barrel from any bird/animal store and put it on your feeder, so the squirrels can slide from it if they jump to eat the suet.

Keep some water in a bowl

If you want to attract more birds to your yard, then you can add some water in a deep bowl for the birds to drink. If you have put the feeder in your yard, then you can buy a feeder pole with multiple hooks so that you can hang the feeder on one hook and the water bowl beside another hook. This is one of the easiest options, which is handy to install and will also save your money.

Hang the feeder in the silent area

Hang the feeders in areas with less human interaction or where the pets and other animals can’t easily reach to disturb the birds. Also, as small birds are afraid of predators, try to hang the feeder in an area considering this issue so that they can be happy to come to your feeder for some treat.

Keep the feeder full every time

Keeping the feeder full every time increases the chances of attracting more birds to your yard. If you notice that the suet is over or eaten by the birds, then immediately refill it with another fresh suet. Continuously seeing the feeder filled with tasty treats will attract the birds to your suet feeder.

Why are birds not eating the suet?

You have set up the feeder well with the bird’s favorite suet, but still, the birds are not eating the suet? Wondering why is this happening? Here are some of the possibilities that might be helpful to you in figuring out the reasons.

Filler ingredients

Avoid adding ingredients in the suet, like corn, wheat, or milo, as these are the filler ingredients that are not liked and eaten by any of the birds.

Suet has become stale

Most of the birds like to eat fresh food, so if they come to your feeder and notice that the suet is not fresh and tasty then they might fly away and not eat from your suet feeder.

Suet is turning black

If you are using raw suet, then it can start melting if the temperature rises above 70 degrees. It may then also start becoming black and go rancid.

Suet has formed mold

Due to the damp weather, the suet may start forming mold and bacteria, which can be green or white fuzzy thing. This can even spoil the suet completely.

Suet has become smelly

Suet doesn’t have any strong smell of its own. Therefore if the suet has spoiled, it will start smelling like the ingredients present in it like the peanuts, oats, etc.

Improper storage of suet

If you didn’t store the left-out suet properly in the air-tight container after its first use then it might start developing impurities that can be fatal for the birds.

Consistency of the suet

If the suet that you have hung in the feeder has lost consistency, it will become messy and will not attract any birds.

If you see any of the above signs, then immediately change the suet with the new fresh one. The fresh suet is more healthy and nutritious to the birds and attracts them more frequently to your feeder.

When to hang and put down the suet feeder?

Putting the feeders up at the right time is very beneficial as it can help you to attract the birds who are wandering for food or have arrived in the region after a long migration. Suet contains fats that help in maintaining body temperature. Therefore you can put up the suet feeders in the fall and winter months when the weather is cold enough and take them off when the colder months are over.

But, if you want to hang the feeder all year round for the birds, then you can do it by buying a pre-packaged no-melt suet that is rendered multiple times to sustain the hot temperature. Using such types of suet, you can feed various birds all year round without the fear of it getting spoiled.


Watching various birds feeding in your yard is an amazing experience. But to attract birds, you need to provide them good quality suet. Sometimes you may notice that the birds are not coming to your suet feeder and sometimes even not eating from it, so in such case, you must immediately look into this to prevent losing your daily guests.

I hope this article has helped you in understanding the reasons why the birds are not coming to your suet feeder, and now you have an idea of how to deal with this issue and attract the birds again to your feeders.