Archive for the ‘Woodpeckers’ Category

Backyard Suet Feeders to Make or Buy

Sunday, November 20th, 2016
BACKYARD: Suet Feeders
It’s time to break out the suet feeders! Suet provides lots of calories to keep some of your favorite birds like chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers warm.  There are lots of different suet feeders you can buy or make, but the best ones are those which are ergonomically correct for
Tail-prop suet feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited

woodpeckers. Woodpeckers feed with their tails propped on the tree which gives them better balance and stability. Feeders which allow woodpeckers to easily balance, like this paddle-shaped model are a good choice. You can make or purchase blocks of suet designed to fit into these feeders and they are easy to use.

Another great suet feeder is a natural piece of branch with holes drilled in it for the suet. You can refill the holes with either pre-made plugs you purchase or with suet you make yourself. Whether you purchase one or
log_suet_feeder_thegardenroofcoop make it yourself, keeping a suet feeder available all winter will keep your backyard busy during the coldest days.
Want to make the log feeder yourself?  With 5 minutes and a few basic tools, anyone can make this attractive feeder and kids will love helping.  Try these easy plans, fill the log holes with suet (recipe and image from start watching birds at your new feeder!

The Big Cache

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The Big Cache

Winter is upon us, and many birds have been preparing for a diminished food supply for some time now. Throughout the summer and fall, many birds, like jays and woodpeckers, have spent time foraging and gathering seed and nuts to store for the winter – this is called “caching”. If you saw birds take seed from your feeder, hull it and hide it under some tree bark, you probably witnessed a bird caching food for the winter.  acorn_woodpecker

Acorn Woodpeckers are excellent at caching food.  They are specialized feeders that live in large groups and gather acorns by the hundreds.  Acorn Woodpeckers will drill hundreds of holes in a tree or even a telephone pole and wedge acorns in these holes for later use.  They have been known to use the same tree or pole year after year as a larder.

Jays are also known to cache and Blue jays have been documented to store up to 4,000 acorns in one season.  But the Clark’s Nutcracker by far wins the prize for caching – clarks_nutcracker able to store between 22,000 and 33,000 pine nuts each season!  Their job is made easier because they can carry almost 100 pine nuts at one time in their throat pouch.  Hiding is one thing…but remembering where all these goodies are is another, and their ability to remember where they have stored their food is perhaps their most impressive feat.  While Blue jays retrieve about 30%  of their cache, those over-achiever Clark’s nutcrackers find a whopping 70% of hidden caches!


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