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When people think about feeding backyard birds, the first thought is usually bird seed and water. These two ingredients are essential for attracting wild birds to your area, no matter where you may reside.

However, another attractive food element that should be included in your offerings, especially during the winter months, is suet. There are many choices available in the suet marketplace for your backyard bird feeding needs.

Plain, inexpensive beef suet can be found at your local supermarket or butcher shop. This is pure, unprocessed suet without any fillers or treats, such as peanuts, fruit or birdseed that you can purchase in prepackaged blocks. If squirrels raiding your suet feeders are a concern, then pure beef suet is your solution. Animals are attracted to suet due to the treats mixed in with commercially processed suet. Birds are attracted to the high calorie and fat content that all suet provides. You can also find pure beef suet in standard, square cakes at your local wild bird store if butcher shops are not located in your town.

Rendered beef suet that you find on store shelves consists of wrapped cakes that are combined with fruits, nuts and birdseed for a wide variety of choices.

Generally speaking, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice prefer peanut butter or peanut based suet cakes. The very high fat content these products offer is very appealing all year round.

During spring and summer you can offer fruit based suet for your migratory birds. For instant, orange suet is the right choice to maintain an oriole presence in your backyard. The warm months may pose a concern for some regarding the offering of suet products. Pure beef suet sold in supermarkets should not be offered when outside temperatures reach 70 degrees or higher. The risk of spoilage is high and birds will ignore your offerings.

Commercially processed suet is available in no-melt formulas that are manufactured not to drip or melt in high temperatures. Many customers believe that you should not offer suet in summer due to the risk of spoilage and lack of attractiveness to wild birds. The daily fat intake for your backyard birds should not be ignored by any serious backyard birder. You will attract more wild birds in the warm seasons if the right suet is available with your feeding stations. Mockingbirds, warblers, orioles, robins and catbirds are just some of the different species you can bring to your area with suet offerings.

The suet feeder choices are just as plentiful as the suet cakes themselves. Wire baskets, mesh bags and suet logs can be used to dispense suet. Wire cages or baskets come in all sizes and shapes. You can recycle mesh onion bags to hold suet. Logs with correctly sized holes are an excellent way to offer suet in a more natural way.

No matter what method you choose, consider suet to be as important an ingredient as bird seed when you wish to attract birds to your home. Choosing the right suet for your backyard is just as essential as the correct bird seed mix. It is possible to serve suet all year and enjoy this wonderful hobby to the maximum. Have fun with your birds.

Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.