In our backyard, we have two suet feeders. One has an extension on the bottom for large birds like woodpeckers to rest their tails while feeding; the other is a standard cage feeder with no extension. At both feeders, we get numerous different species, including flickers, a Bewick’s wren, juncos, nuthatches, chickadees, and a Townsend’s Warbler. Now, juncos are normally ground-feeders, but they quickly taught themselves how to use the suet feeders. Chickadees usually use the seed feeder we have, but they, too, learned to use the suet feeders. Sometimes, there’s a real crowd of birds waiting for one or the other suet feeder. One contains normal suet, and the cage feeder contains “hot pepper suet”, to discourage our squirrels, which can just climb right up the pole to get at the cage feeder. The birds use our Japanese Maple tree right by the feeders as a staging area, while they are waiting for their chance to get some suet.
Lately, we have been seeing a lot of our pair of varied thrushes (Robins in different clothing), which are carnivores, thus ground feeders searching for their normal diet of earthworms and insects. However, they have been observing the littler birds going for the suet, and doing their best to get some themselves. I shot this video this morning, so you can see what great lengths the varied thrush is employing to get at the suet.
For some reason, he simply cannot find a good way of standing on the feeder to get the suet. If he lighted on top, he could lean down and get suet, but he never thinks of that. So he tries to play hummingbird, and hovers for a second to get a teensy bite of suet. In this video, also watch for who watches from the fence. This is delightful bird behavior, and a great joy to watch.
Life’s simple pleasures.