Bird Watcher's General Store

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Missing Suet

Dear Bird Folks,

This morning when I got up I noticed that my suet feeder was gone. That is the third suet feeder that has been taken off my tree in the past two weeks. I think it’s the neighbor’s kids who are taking it, but my husband thinks it’s a squirrel. Any ideas?

– Pat, East Dennis


Hey Pat:

I think it’s the neighbor’s kids too. Nothing is more appealing to a teenager than a bird feeder filled with greasy, rancid animal fat. Kids can’t get enought of them. Just look at a bus stop sometime. Almost every kid there has two or three suet feeders hanging off their backpacks. Even some of the teachers are starting to collect them too, thus creating a huge underground market for suet feeders, worth millions.

And what’s the deal with your husband? He must be one of those guys who blames everything in life on squirrels. Although squirrels eat suet, the most likely culprit is a raccoon. Raccoons love suet, they can climb trees and are very strong. They can easily pry off most suet feeders. Raccoons travel in small groups and when one finds some food, all the others want it too. So, often times the finder will have to run away with his prize in order to keep the others from taking it away. That is why you can seldom find the feeder.

The best way to prevent raccoons from taking your suet is to hang it on a line between two trees, like a clothesline. Or drop it on a very long line (ten feet) off a high tree branch. One other thing you can do is hang a big piece of broccoli next to your suet feeder. It won’t stop the raccoons, but it will certainly keep away your neighbor’s kids.