We need birds, far more than they need us. Being part of our ecosystem, which needs to be balanced, the birds play a significant role in bringing back the long-lost plant cover, which was somehow destroyed. In addition, they play other roles like keeping the pests away, pollinating the plants, eating tons of insects every year and much more. For instance, Vultures help in cleaning the environment, Seabirds help in fertilizing the coral reefs, etc. Thus, it’s our duty to help the birds live blissful life. And what can we do? We can arrange the best food items for the birds.
In this article, we will look into best food that can be kept into suet feeders.
Suet feeders are raw and hard fat mainly obtained from the loins and area around the kidneys of animals like cows, mutton, and sheep. This animal’s fat can quickly become non-consumable for birds. The bird suet feeders can become rancid upon exposure to air for a longer period of time. If the place’s temperature gets above 45 degrees Celsius, the suet feeders will become softer, which is harmful to birds.
But when do such circumstances occur? From the end of the spring season until the end of the summer season, i.e., from May beginning to September mid, every year. Thus, during this time, we need to take proper care in preparing the suet feeders, which will satiate the hunger in birds and keeps its consumable properties intact.
One more thing to remember is that summers are also the incubation period for the birds when they require more warmth inside their bodies to provide the same to their soon-to-be-born species. And this is also one time when days are longer, increasing the time for consumption for the birds. During this time, thus, they require a larger amount of suet feeders. In addition, feeding on the soft or rotten ones may decrease the belly portion covered by feathers, which will throw out immense heat from their body, disturbing their nesting period.
List of items to be put to make a nutritious bird suet feeder during summers.
(i) Black oil sunflower seeds are the primary type of seeds which are mostly preferred by all ranges of birds like House Finch, Cardinal, Tit, Nuthatch and many more. However, it is also loved by squirrels and should be avoided at places where this species is found.
(ii) Striped sunflower seeds should be added to those suet feeders made for birds like Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Chickadees, etc. And these will also not attract squirrels. However, due to its thick shells, smaller birds like House Sparrows, Starlings etc., would reject them easily.
(iii) Safflower seeds are good for songbirds as they contain high protein content, which is suitable for the bird’s nutrition. And they are also squirrel-proof since these seeds taste bitter to them.
(iv) Seeds like crack corn, nyjer, and millet attract small-beaked birds like Finches and Warblers due to their small size and easily digestible quality. But these seeds should be quickly eaten due to smaller durability.
Adding a bit of nectar to the nutritious diet of birds helps them in getting warmth and protects the suet feeder for a longer duration from getting rotten. Hummingbirds, Woodpeckers are highly attracted to the smell and taste of nectar.
In the summer season, there is an availability of a wide variety of fruits, starting from apples, oranges, blueberries, raspberries, currants, serviceberries, sumac, blackberry, and many more. Thus, suet feeders having fruits in them will be easily attracted to the birds, which will be quickly consumed and will not be just kept untouched by the birds. For instance,
(i) Birds like the American Robin, Scarlet Tanager, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, Grosbeak, etc., love to feed on apple chunks.
(ii) The Northern Cardinals, Gray Catbirds, and many others feed on oranges.
(iii) Summer tanagers, Gray catbirds, etc., also cherish and love to feed on banana slices, from which it also gets nutritional benefits.
These fruits can also be turned into the form of jellies and can be mixed with the suet feeders. It will give a sweet taste to it and will also be separated from the seeds beforehand. The most popular birds which are attracted to them are Woodpeckers, Gray Catbirds, Orioles, etc.
Birds like Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, Jays, Woodpeckers, and many others are very much attracted to peanuts. At the same time, when mixed with suet, it increases its shelf life of it as it easily dries the air and wetness near it.
There is also a list of items that must be avoided during the summers so that the suet feeders don’t get quickly rotten by developing a layer of fat on them due to the moisture in the atmosphere.
- Peanut butter: It has a high amount of fats and sugar, and other additives, which melt easily and make it quickly rancid in hot and humid weather. It also gets easily stuck in a bird’s feathers hampering its flight.
- Huge amount of nectar: Nectar shouldn’t be added more than one-third ratio to the amount of suet as it can ferment the feeder much earlier.
- Huge amount of cracked corns: It will not only be beneficial to House Sparrow, and other birds will keep it untouched, leaving it for getting wasted.
- It should be placed in a shady area to avoid direct exposure to warm rays of sunlight. However, it should always be put in a place which is not wet and gets little warmth.
- The suet feeders must be changed before they develop a thick layer of oil and an unpleasant smell.
- It must be shredded or broken into smaller pieces making it easier for the bird to eat.
- One must constantly check for bacterial or fungal development and clean it immediately.
Thus, suet feeders play an essential role for the birds and must be appropriately maintained to provide a nutritious diet to the birds.