Posted by: David | December 21, 2009

Suet Balls

So my son-in-law’s buddy works at a place where they make all kinds of things to do with feeding birds. He gave my son-in-law a bunch of these five-packs of suet balls that they couldn’t sell for some reason or other, and he (son-in-law) gave us some back at Thanksgiving. Broke open a pack and threw them into one of those plastic netting bags that hams come in. Strung it up with baling twine between the 2 tube feeders and wa la. Those pesky woodpeckers would have something to really peck on. Instead of just sitting at the tube feeder flinging sunflower seeds every which way, often to be heard bouncing off the window. Which gets to the skinflint in me. Even knowing that their bird-brained behavior benefits the ground feeders, over the years they’ve annoyed me enough to where I’d go over to the window and wave away the hairy or downy woodpecker making waste. But they liked the suet in the plastic netting bag. Hooray. Should have left well enough alone …

But I found this tube suet feeder at the town dump! How bout that? (I also found a 2-CD set of Bob and Ray at Carnegie Hall!) So I hung it up in the same spot (and just kinda bunched up the netting) and dropped the suet balls into it. The second ball caused the metal cage at the bottom to pop right off and all fell to the ground below. So I undertook to “repair” this contraption.

I wired the sucker together with some stainless wire I have a spool of. Felt clever.

Hung it up and put all 5 of the suet balls in. The device would allow access to one suet ball at a time. This was Saturday morning. Not much happened. The usual birds came and went. Including some cardinals.

The cardinals usually prefer the ground but have been at the seed feeders lately.

We went to a party at a co-worker’s home that afternoon and had a wonderful time. It was a cookie exchange party. We brought homemade peanut brittle and white chocolate peanut bark and brought home 2 tins of all kinds of fabulous confections, and had a great time in between hanging out with some nice cool people. My coworker has commented here before and she used to work at the Baseball Hall of Fame. There’s a baseball-themed room in their basement complete with 2 seats from Fenway Park and other baseball memorabilia. Had to get a photo of the Fenway seats.

Dueling cameras with a fellow party goer. This was a draw.

Meanwhile, back at home, the birds were trying to continue their lives. We were home by 9 Saturday night.  Sunday morning we were congratulating ourselves at not being hit by the big blizzard as we had our customary weekend breakfast. Then we saw this.

This woodpecker seemed perplexed. Which we found amusing.

This bird didn’t peck once on the suet at all for the 3 minutes it took to a)watch for a bit, b)remark on the inaction, c)decide that it was worth photographing, and d) go find the camera and sneak up without scaring the bird off. HAH! Take that you silly bird. That will teach you (and your kind) to fling sunflower seeds all over the place willy nilly! Except that the goal was really to have the birds eat the suet balls that we were given. So now it’s obvious why I found the suet feeder tube at the dump. Back to the dump it will go next weekend. And the 5 suet balls went back into the plastic netting ham bag.

Didn’t catch him in the act, but this little guy was definitely eating the suet.

Oliver could smell it too.

Thus ends this fascinating post on suet balls. At the current rate of consumption I think we’ll have enough to feed them all winter. Happy winter solstice by the way …


  1. Can’t read this now because my connection has been off all day and I have to check the mail because of X-mas etc.

    I thought that since this sidebar Oliver link of my blog seems to work, you could delete some or all of the messages that are on the linked post, because there are too many.

    Now I’ll take a copy of this post to read it off-line in case the connection goes off again.

    Well my friend, you are not missing much by not being able to read this post on suet balls.

    Are you asking me to delete the comments after the post? What does “too many” mean?

  2. A tube suet feeder! Seemed like a great idea. I’m perplexed about it not being a hit. But as long as the suet gets distributed one way or another, all’s well.

    So glad the big storm missed you. You look mighty rural and “strandable” in the event of a snow like that.

    Yeah, it was one of those things … it seemed like a serendipitous find at the dump …

    We’re not really that rural, or strandable. We’re on a main state route. The view of the backyard makes it look like we’re in the boonies, but we’re really not.

  3. You get all the great things and, if you weren’t such a great guy, I’d be jealous. My girlfriend was wrapping some crap yesterday and started screaming because a coyote the size of a black lab was running around the back yard. That’s a first. We see a bunch of foxes but that was an oddity.

    Awww. Shucks. Thanks B&G. Yeah, we’re lucky to have such a great dump in our town.

    Crap wrapping? Love it. Coyotes are scary though, so I don’t blame your girlfriend for screaming. Have yourself a merry little …

  4. If somebody gets out of “cantueso” and lands on yours only to see more “cantueso”, he might say, as they say here:

    Para este viaje sobran las alforjas.
    For this trip we don’t need the saddle bags.

    meaning one might as well stay put

    OK. I admit it’s an ego thing for me, but I like all the comments and consider them to be an integral part of the blog post. Part of the permanent record, as it were, and evidence that someone out there actually takes a few moments to appreciate whatever it is that I’m doing here. Ephemeral quality notwithstanding. I guess this is why I try to respond to every comment.

    • For every tree that grows, billions of seeds are lost.
      For every photo that is remembered, millions are lost.
      For every etc etc etc

      1. Priorities
      2. Selection

      Can’t keep it all!

      This reminds me of a recent utterance by a family member attempting profundity:

      Priorities first!

      Also reminds me of how my wife hates it when people (or me) say “It is what it is”.

      • But it wasn’t philosophy. It was a blogging principle.

        Thanks for the clarification. These words on the internet are the ultimate ephemera. Dust in the wind.

  5. The Money We Waste On NASA’s Space Program Would Be Better Spent On Space Programs For The Poor. Do the math, sheeple!
    Woman Domesticated

    Once burdened with physically demanding chores, exhausting farm work, and other unpleasant duties, man’s quality of life dramatically improved after his successful domestication of the common woman…..more»


    ***** Entire Office Unsure What To Do About Bawling Coworker

    Thanks for sharing this here cantueso. I really should look at the Onion more often. There is always something there to make me laugh.

  6. Maybe this is VERY old news for you, but today it was in the NYT and so I thought maybe it is not so well known: a bicycle artist. On his bike he jumps across walls and fences, turns in the air like a number 8 become airborne, drives on a fence, and on the ground he looks like a kitten celebrating its birthday.

    Some of it is also camera work, I guess. The first 2o seconds of the video are no-show.

    Yes, I saw this painful video last year. It just makes me ache. I’m not convinced that art should do that.

    But thank you for posting this link.

  7. That is a super cool little woodpecker. The woodpeckers we have around here are big, loud, and like to peck on houses (bad news) and swamp coolers. Nothing worse that a woodpecker going crazy on a metal surface.

    Sure, your’s might be just as bad, but they are cute and fuzzy, and that more than makes up for it. 🙂

    I’m gonna save your pics to show my wife.

    Hey thanks for your comment Peter. Wonder why woodpeckers are such pains in the ass.

  8. Cute bird (referring to the woodpecker, though to be fair, the Cardinal isn’t bad either as far as birds are concerned…though I must admit that I’m not a big bird aficianado…but I can respect a pretty bird when I see it…ramble, ramble, ramble)! My dad keeps a bird feeder in his yard, but just seems to draw those icky black birds.

    Most of the visitors to our feeders are drab birds like nuthatches and titmice. But I’m biased to only snap pix of the pretty ones. It’s nice to have them around, they bring an agreeable liveliness with them and are endless fun to watch, even if not all brightly colored.

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