Date: February 8th, 2017
With cold weather quickly approaching, your backyard visitor's nutritional needs are changing.
Cold Weather Feeding with Suet and Seed Cakes
Birds require high-energy food in order to prepare for migration and/or build up fat reserves for winter survival. Suet and seed cakes are the simple and convenient answer for both your sake and the wild birds.
What is Suet?
- Suet is made from fat (often rendered animal fat) and provides a high-protein, high-calorie food
- Suet attracts cardinals, jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, titmice, warblers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, and many other birds
- While this may not sound healthy, fat reserves play a critical role in avian diets and survival.
How are Suet and Seed Cakes More Beneficial than just Seed?
- Seed cakes typically do not contain hulls or shells – only high-quality ingredients
- As mentioned above, suet is typically higher in protein and calories
- The dense concentration of nutrients and calories are exactly what birds need in colder weather
Suet and Seed Cake Placement
Suet and seed cakes should be placed at least five feet off of the ground and near a tree trunk. Most birds that enjoy these foods are cling feeders; they cling to tree trunks in search of insects.
- Place suet/seed cake feeders near other feeders
- Place suet/seed cakes in a cage feeder or feeder that is designed specifically for these foods
- Feeders with roofs will help protect the food from snow or rain
- Suet is a coveted source of food in colder weather and you may find the need to refill your feeders often.
If you find that larger birds are dominating your feeders, consider switching to a feeder such as the Audubon Suet Bottom Feeder. This feeder allows woodpeckers and songbirds to feed but prevents grackles and other large birds.