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Where should you hang a suet feeder? Finding the right spot can make all the difference. Here is what I’ve learned about where to place suet feeders. It may just give you some ideas on where to place your own!
Finding the Best Way to Hang Suet
Location, Location, Location. This is as true for bird feeders as it is to restaurants we humans visit. You can have a great, well-designed feeder with fresh appealing food and get no or very few birds if the location is wrong. And squirrels will eat your suet if you don’t consider them when you pick a spot for your feeder.
When I get a new feeder, I sometimes try several spots until I find where it works best. This post looks in depth at what suet strategies worked in my yard, what didn’t work and what partially worked. I put them in a lot of wrong spots before I found what I think is the right spot.
If you want to skip ahead to reading about my current suet feeder location, check out my Best Way to Hang a Suet Feeder post.
Avoid Bird Window Collisions
To minimize birds hitting your windows (which can kill birds) place feeders either within three feet of a window or more than thirty feet away. The idea is that a startled bird can’t get up enough speed to hurt themselves badly from three feet away. And windows are less likely to be seen as a fly-through at distances of thirty feet away.
Worked: Low Bushes Near Window
Next to bedroom windows at the front of our house are two leggy bushes. I hung two suet blocks from these bush branches about three feet from the window. There is a homemade birdbath in this area and a Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder hanging from a tree about thirty feet away. This makes it a popular spot with birds in the yard.
Pros: Suet here appealed to Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens and Tufted Titmouses all year round and the occasional Red-Bellied Woodpecker. In the spring, other birds, especially Blue Jays, brought their fledglings to these feeders, which was very cool to watch.
There is a window seat on the inside of this window where our four indoor cats like to sleep and bird watch. The birds seemed to realize that they were no danger behind the glass and ignored the cats.
Cons: The downside to this location is that they were easy for squirrels to access so they would be occasional pests on them.
Worked: Large Bush Near Window
I hung another suet feeder near a window at the far front end of the house hidden behind a large evergreen bush. This feeder dangled by a very long chain from a thin flexible branch.
Pros: This one was popular with the same birds, as well as Northern Cardinals and House Sparrows, who seemed to prefer this more protected location. Here too, one of our cats could sit on the other side of the window, bird watching.
This feeder, dangling on such a long chain, required the squirrels to be more acrobatic, but they could still get into it if hungry enough to mess with it. I moved it around on the bush to find the branch and chain length that made it the hardest for a squirrel so they didn’t get on it a lot.
Partly Worked: Near Back Door
I hung yet another suet feeder on a post off our back steps, a few feet to the side of the kitchen window.
Pros: This feeder got visited mostly by Downy Woodpeckers and Carolina Wrens and the occasional squirrel.
Cons: It was the least used of the suet feeders, probably partially because it was located by a busy doorway and partially because of its hidden suet access . . .
. . . but it was nice to look out the window while cooking dinner and see a Downy Woodpecker on the feeder. (Note: See my Birds Choice Upside Down Suet Feeder post to learn how I helped birds find the suet in these feeders.)
Partly Worked: Against Tree Trunk
Pros: If you ask Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers and White-Breasted Nuthatches for their favorite suet feeder spot, they would probably tell you right up next to a tree trunk. Birds land higher on the trunk and then sidle and hop down to feeder level. They loved it.
Cons: Unfortunately, squirrels loved it too. They were on it so much that birds rarely had a chance, especially in cold weather. So this location had to go.
Didn’t Work: Inside Corner
Cons: Hanging a suet feeder from the house right next to the dining room window was a complete bust. Sure, it would have let me see birds very well. But this window is in an inside corner. I suspect this made birds feel trapped and less able to get away from a predator. Not a single bird visited either a regular cage suet feeder or this house-like feeder hung here.
Mostly Didn’t Work: Same Pole with Busy Feeder
Another spot that didn’t work well was on the arm of the pole where a platform feeder also hangs. (Note: In the picture, two cage feeders are wired together with suet in one and a nut block in the other.)
Pros: In this location, the feeder would sometimes get a Carolina Wren and very occasionally a Downy Woodpecker when other suet feeders were full. This spot was squirrel proof.
Cons: Suet-eating birds were quickly spooked by bird activity on the platform feeder. (The platform feeder was often full of busy active birds like American Goldfinches, House Finches and Blue Jays.)
Didn’t Work: Branch Next to Busy Feeder
Cons: Yet another unsuccessful spot was hanging on a branch a few feet from a Squirrel Buster Plus feeder. Same problem. Too much activity on the other feeder made it an unappealing place for quieter suet eating birds to dine. The squirrels could also easily climb down the chain to get the suet.
Worked: Branch Protected by Baffles
I hung three feeders on high tree branches, two of them protected by Erva extra-large baffles.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you protect a feeder with a hanging baffle, it is important to get the placement of the feeder and the baffle right. Otherwise, squirrels will get around the baffle and onto the feeder. See my post: Keep Squirrels Off Branch Hung Suet for tips on how to do this.
Pros: This spot was near enough to my dining room window that I could see them. But it was still far enough from the house that the danger of window strikes was lessened. It was also just enough removed from other feeders that they were not spooked by busier bird activity.
These three feeders were popular with Downy Woodpeckers, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice and occasionally a Pine Warbler.
Cons: You need to work hard on feeder and baffle placement to keep squirrels off suet hung on branches. I played around with placement for quite a while, searching for just the right spots on a large tree’s branches. A larger suet or nut block plus a metal baffle can get heavy; add the weight of a bird and it can break a lighter branch. So the branch had to be fairly heavy and sturdy.
Works Best: Suet Feeder on Own Baffled Pole
My suet feeder strategy has evolved over the years since I originally wrote this post. I’ve since moved all my suet feeders to poles. It is working excellently! To learn how I set this up, check out my Best Way to Hang A Suet Feeder post.
What has worked for you in offering suet to birds in your yard? Do you use this type of commercial suet and/or nut block or do you make your own and offer it differently? Please share in the comments.
Other Posts About Suet Feeders
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