Monday, December 15, 2008

If you enjoy hosting birds in your garden

Some wild friends dropping by for lunch this week.

Ms Belle the red bellied woodpecker.

The chickadees are always the first to try a new feeder.

I have found suet dough is one of the best ways to attract wild birds to my garden. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, wrens, and others all come to the suet feeder. There is a lot of nutrition and calories in suet so it really helps the birds get through a difficult winter.

I have had really bad luck with the suet dough brands sold in box stores. My birds will not eat the WalMart or box store suet dough. I watch for Kaytee, to go on sale for $.99 a block, it is a favorite. Even raw suet from the butcher will attract woodpeckers but it is usually more expensive than commercial blocks. In places where squirrels are a serious problem, meat suet is the best alternative.

You can also make a peanut butter mixture that will attract birds... and squirrels. There are dozens of recipes starting with an inexpensive peanut butter and adding cornmeal or oatmeal and various things like raisins, lard, a little sugar, nuts, etc. I freeze it in an icecube tray and set cubes outside.

I have two downey females. One is on a mission to drive the other away. Too bad they won't get along, there is plenty for everyone. This is the shy one keeping an eye out for her troublesome rival.

This nuthatch stops for some suet before going back to her job of hiding seeds in my shingles.

The aggressive downey pauses for a snack before continuing the pursuit of her rival.

Enjoy your visitors.