Counselor and three kids posing covered in mud

Craft Time: Suet Feeder

Suet Feeder

By putting up a bird feeder in your yard, you can easily attract a variety of wintering Wisconsin birds. Not only will you spot some of these winter-ready birds, but you will help them survive the harsh winter conditions when food is scarce. 

Identifying birds isn’t as difficult as you may think. Noting just a few characteristics of the bird, such as shape and color as well as the habitat in which you see the bird can tell you a lot about what type of bird you may be seeing or hearing. Listening to bird songs is a wonderful way to expand your enjoyment of nature. Often you won’t be able to see the birds, but you will be able to hear their calls. Some of the rarer, and harder to spot birds you may see here include the Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Bluebird, and Great Horned Owl.

You will need: Plastic Onion or Potato Sack, Wax Paper, String, Scissors, Suet (ask for this at the meat counter at your local grocery store), Bird Seed

  1. Cut a piece of wax paper to about 8″ x 10.” Sprinkle birdseed on the wax paper in an even layer. Then take out your suet and roll it onto the seeds, completely covering it. 
  2. Now make a ball out of your suet and place it into the plastic onion or potato sack. If you chose to use the potato sack, cut the sack to fit the size of your suet ball and tie off the top with your string. 
  3. **Be sure to leave a long end on it in order to hang it from the tree.** (Recommend 12-24 inches long)
  4. Hang the suet feeder far from the tree trunk to keep other critters from making off with the entire feeder because it happens. Wait and watch to find out who will visit your suet sack feeder this winter using the tips above.
Red headed woodpecker at Cave of the Mounds

Identifying Birds

  • Bird size- Ask yourself, is the bird bigger or smaller than a robin?
  • Bird markings- Look at the coloration of the feathers, what is unique? Does the bird have any distinct markings like eye streaks, caps or bib?
  • Bird beak- What is the shape? Is it short and wide to crack seeds, is it long and narrow to eat suet, is it sharply curved as if to eat meat?
  • Bird legs- What type of legs does it have? Are they short and narrow, long with webbed feet, long strong talons on its feet?