Date: 4/1/17 12:21 pm
From: Catherine Otto <catherine.otto...>
Subject: [obol] suet feast- Paul and Carol's famous recipe
Greetings to all,

I’ve been wanting to write about the success of Paul and Carol’s homemade
suet recipe (posted earlier on OBOL). We’ve been using the homemade suet
with wonderful success. We have 2 suet feeders on a small magnolia tree
visible from our kitchen window, which allows us to see the action, and the
steady stream of birds that come and go. We make the suet cakes in small
plastic containers; finished cakes measure about 4 inches by 5 ˝ so they
just barely fit into one of the 5 x 5 inch wire mesh feeders. We generally
have to refill our feeders every day, as it takes from 1- 1 ˝ days for them
both to be empty again. When we’ve placed a commercial suet cake in one of
the feeders, to compare it with the homemade variety, the birds show a
marked preference for the homemade. At times the bare branches of our
magnolia look like a Christmas tree festively decorated with ornaments- each
a different bird, all moving and jostling for position to get the best
chance at the suet. While feeding, flickers and starlings go at it
vigorously, breaking off little pieces which are enjoyed by birds on the
ground below.

The most common feeders on the suet have been a rag-tag little flock of
Yellow-rumped Warblers, about 6-8 in number. I call them ‘rag-tag’ because
we’ve had the joy of watching them through their molt to their (now)
beautiful breeding plumage. All the visitors to our suet feeders are listed
below. Some of these only came a few times, for example, during the
snow/ice storms, and the distribution has changed as the seasons have
changed. Some of them check in every day, or multiple times each day, as if
it’s part of their feeding schedule.

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

California Scrub Jay

American Crow (uncommon)

Bewick’s Wren

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Western Bluebird

American Robin

Varied Thrush

European Starling

Yellow-rumped Warbler (most common- almost always there!)

Spotted Towhee (uncommon)

Fox Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco (common)

House Finch

Black-capped Chickadees are in the vicinity, but they prefer the seeds to
the suet.

It will be interesting to see how the distribution of birds changes as we go
through the summer and into the fall seasons. We haven’t seen any
Red-breasted Nuthatches or Bushtits since we’ve been tracking our suet
users, but maybe we’ll add these in the late summer/fall season.

Catherine Otto
Corvallis, OR

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