Birds Just Can’t Get Enough Of The Stuff
I didn’t have much time this week to watch the activity at my bird feeder. But I did read a little more in my bird book and it said – suet.
So what is this suet stuff? It’s animal fat. If you’re British it’s one of the yummy ingredients in English Christmas Pudding. I think it’s also used in making candles.
But the birds dig this stuff. So over the weekend I got some suet for my feathery friends. All day it had been the usual customers at the feeder, Black-capped Chickadees, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red bellied and Downey Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse and Sunday a gathering of about eight Dark-eyed Juncos foraging around under the feeder. Nothing new, so I figured I’d put out the suet.
My son climbed the big beech tree in the backyard and with some fishing line strung up our block of suet. Not 10 minutes later our first suet customer, a Red-bellied Woodpecker landed and began pecking away. He was followed by a male, and then a female Downey Woodpecker. The Nuthatches got into the act as did the Chickadees. Even the Tits were readily pecking away at the suet. (My book refers to more than one Tufted Titmouse as Tits. Of course my teenage son almost killed himself rushing to the kitchen window this morning when I called him to come look out the window at the Tits.)
When I bought the suet I chose suet especially prepared for birds. There was Berry Suet, Seed Suet, Nut Suet, Orange Suet and High Protein Suet. The label said that at this time of year and later in the spring the High Protein Suet is best as the females need more in their diet. I grabbed some High Protein Suet and a block of the Nut Suet as well as a special treat.
Gosh the birds really dig suet. They were frantic to get at it and have a peck. While a few grabbed a black oil sunflower seed or two, everyone wanted a whack at the suet.
We watch them from about 30 minutes. The woodpeckers seemed to dominate things, maybe because they were bigger, but before long everyone appeared to have a go at the block of suet. My son and I were please with ourselves. We had really hit on something.
And then just before dusk it happened.
The dog barked a couple of times and then ran from the kitchen into another room right into its kennel. It refused to come out. (It’s one of those little white dogs about the size of a crow and capable of making just as much noise.) Then I heard it, the cawing of crows, lots of crows. I went into the kitchen to have a look and – Holy Crow!
These big screeching black birds filled the bare branches of the beech tree like Christmas ornaments. They were in other nearby trees as well. I went from the window to the door and the side yard was full of crows. I tried to count them as they screamed and flew from one tree to another. I got to 41 once before losing track and that probably wasn’t half of what was swarming around in my backyard, seemingly eyeing my bird feeder, or was it the suet?
They hung around for about 30 minutes swooping past the feeder and the block of suet, but they were too big to land on either. Their screeching seemed to intensity with their frustration and inability to steal an Englishman’s Christmas Pudding. Then one, two, twenty, forty and more, the mass birds departed.
Its dark now, the dog has come out of her kennel and the crows have gone. It’s quiet. What will tomorrow morning bring?
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