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Volume 17, Issue 1
January 2019


Let them eat suet
by Margie Lachman

The suet feeder in our back yard is a popular spot for the birds. A dogwood tree nearby provides perches for them to wait their turn.

Suet is a high-calorie food that helps the birds as they have a long way to fly to their winter destinations. Our migratory wild birds travel along the Pacific Flyway from the Arctic tundra and northwestern rain forests all the way to South America. The Audubon website tells us that each year at least a billion birds take this route along the Pacific Flyway. This is only a fraction of the birds that flew over it a century ago. “Habitat loss, water shortages, diminishing food sources and climate change all threaten the birds of the Pacific Flyway,” the website says.

A small flock of Bushtits cling easily to the feeder

Because our area is on a main route for birds traveling south for the winter, we can see many different kinds of birds in our own gardens if we provide water and food for them. Our suet feeder hangs on a pole that I can see whenever I am at my computer. When a bird (or occasionally a flock!) comes to the feeder I can watch them.

I keep binoculars and a bird book handy to identify them. My binoculars are a simple inexpensive pair, but for the serious birder there are some available that have a camera attached. This would be an interesting activity for children, especially during our rainy winter days.

Bluejays, the occasional Northern Flicker, and flocks of little Bushtits are but a few visitors I have seen lately. Watching and identifying birds can be an introduction to wildlife that can remain a lifelong interest.

Wire feeders are widely available and are just the right size to fit pre-mixed suet cakes. The suet is usually mixed with a variety of other food, including cracked corn, seeds, and nuts.

The more we know about nature, the more we care about preserving it for future generations. Teaching our children to love and respect our natural world and its inhabitants is a meaningful and beneficial gift that will enrich their lives for a lifetime.


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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2018