Saturday, June 13, 2015

Solving the Suet Feeder Problem

I had just about reached the point of taking the suet feeder in being so frustrated with the Grackles and the Jays going through a suet cake within an hour every morning then to top that off, the Cooper's Hawk decided birds feeding was her/his own personal buffet table.

The feeder I had been using had worked well until the Grackles showed up.  The suet cage within the cage did not provide enough distance from the outer to the inner cage.  The Grackles were able to reach through and hogged the space and chased other birds away.

I started with an idea and worked on the fly.  In hind sight, I would do some things differently if I had a do-over but for now, the new suet cage is working.

It has been an interesting watching the learning process of the birds getting use to the new feeder.  The first bird to give it a try was a Tufted Titmouse, the second a Carolina Wren.  Initially, I had two openings on each side and they were towards the bottom of the cage.  Neither of the birds were able to find their way back out and I ended up opening the door to let them out.

I made adjustments and added more openings at the top and middle of the cage.  After watching for a bit, the birds generally enter at the bottom of the cage and exit towards the top.  Also at the bottom hole, I added a wooden dowel through the cage.  This seemed to give a reference point for some of the larger birds such as the Cardinal, Catbird and Bluebird.

The birds, such as the Downy WP that I expected to have the least problems seemed quite confused.  Not sure if because they are still juveniles are contributing to the uncertainty.  They have eventually figured it out yet still check out almost every opening prior to going in.

The Red-Bellied WP was very hesitant to go in at first but eventually, hunger won out.

And has it worked to keep the Grackles out?  You betcha!  I watched for 15 minutes as they went all over the cage attempting to get in.


1 comment:

Coppertop said...

Ingenious Paula! It must have been quite entertaining to watch as the birds figured out the invention! :-)