Date: 1/4/18 2:36 pm
From: Stephen Johnson via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] sapsucker feeding question

Hi Jay,

An adult male Y-B Sapsucker has been visiting our suet cage regularly for several weeks here in western Fairfax County, since well before the recent (even colder) weather. We get one here every winter.

Ours is a roughly 2X6X6 inch wire cage hung from a shepherd's crook just above a tube seed feeder. The suet is a solid rectangular cake, mostly a mixture of Crisco, peanut butter, and sunflower kernels.

For many years I have used a home-made suet based on the recipe available at the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy's web site. I tried it side-by-side with store-bought rectangular suet cakes, and the birds' preference for it was dramatic. It costs (in bulk) considerably less than store-bought, too.

The only downside to our arrangement is Starlings. The squirrels are thwarted by a conical baffle on the shepherd's crook. We suffer through frequent Starling invasions and make more suet. All the other birds enjoy the suet, including 5 woodpecker species (not Flicker, and we don't have RHWP here). A lot of birds continue to eat during the Starling frenzy by scarfing up the scraps on the ground.

Steve Johnson
Fairfax, Virginia


On Jan 4, 2018, at 4:44 PM, Stephen Eccles via va-bird wrote:

> We have Sapsuckers in the garden every winter, although they sometimes
> disappear for short very cold spells. This year, they have stayed in the
> garden throughout and are eating our suet in recent days, though they
> normally don't do that. So, keep your suet coming!
>
> On Thu, Jan 4, 2018 at 4:25 PM, Walter Hadlock via va-bird <
> <va-bird...> wrote:
>
>> Good afternoon,
>>
>> We are able to provide food for all the birds frequenting our yard except
>> for a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. We have a Suet “Sandwich” that other
>> species of woodpeckers can manage, but not the Sapsucker.
>>
>> Any suggestions on what we can do to help it? It does spend time poking
>> around in the bark on our Silver Maple. But, it seems o.k., but with the
>> drastic wind chill here in Herndon, we’re not sure it will make it.
>>
>> It cannot manage the suet in a cup that is in a cage frequented by the
>> Bluebirds.
>>
>> Thanks for any suggestions,
>>
>> Jay and Carol Hadlock
>> Herndon, VA
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