[Tweeters] more on suet and suet blocks

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Fri Dec 13 10:45:18 PST 2013

It's "high end" rather expensive, yes, but those commercially available
suet blocks at places like "Wild Birds Unlimited" are my #1 choice since I'm
too lazy to bother messing with making the stuff myself. And besides, I
don't have any other pets, e.g. dogs or cats or children to feed, take to the
vet, and constantly clean up after. The wild birds are my "pets", they're
outside, they take good care of themselves, and the cost of feeding
including even the 'expensive' suet blocks is cheaper in the long run than the
other 'pet' alternatives. However, it does get to be a bit much come
July-August when the Pileated Woodpeckers come around each year with their latest
brood of younglings in tow and there can be as many as FIVE Pileated
Woodpeckers pecking away at that one small suet block mounted on the tree trunk at
one time. During that summer period, needless to say it doesn't take long
for a family of Pileated Woodpeckers to completely wipe out that brand new
$6 to $7 suet block I had put up just that morning, sometimes all gone in
just one day, two tops. They eat better than I do, ...or at least their
tastes are more expensive than mine!

As mentioned earlier, I AVOID at all costs suet blocks that contain
peanuts, peanut butter, peanut anything! Those ones simply become an instant
squirrel magnet. I can afford and justify the woodpeckers and other birds,
but NOT the squirrels. Fortunately, those insect infused suet blocks e.g.
"Oregon Suet Block" (cool weather - fall, winter, spring) and "Cascade Summer
Suet Block" (warm season - summer, early fall), both are peanut free and
the squirrels if there are squirrels around don't like or bother those at
all, just the birds, and the squirrels, if any, just get angry with me. But
so what; what else can they do? Go out and play in the traffic?

And if you ever wondered how these commercial suet blocks are made and
everything that goes into the process including the insects, flies, maggots,
you might find this quite interesting and entertaining, an episode from the
Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" that aired way back on February 10, 2009,
where Mike Rowe visits and engages the Payette, Idaho home of the "Oregon
Suet Block". I heard somewhere once long ago that this outfit used to
actually be IN Oregon before moving to Idaho after having been kicked out of the
State for fostering mass fly infestations amidst the horrendous smell
which upset the towns people. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, maybe
urban myth, but maybe a grain of truth. The segment pertaining to this
subject is literally a TV show on your computer minus the commercials and runs
for the first 22 minutes of that Feb 10, 2009 episode at this link:
_Skip on Dirty Jobs ("Discovery")_

Try doing something similar in YOUR home! :-))

Here's a couple links pertaining to the Oregon Suet Block outfit and
products in Payette, Idaho:
(1) _Skipio's Wild Bird Fare (Oregon suet block)_
(2) _Skipio's - home page_ (http://www.skipios.com/Home_Page.html)

A couple months ago or so, "Wild Birds Unlimited" (Bel/Red store at least)
began offering another line of suet blocks in addition to the popular
"Oregon" varieties which contain meal worms, some with peanut matter, some
without, made and marketed by a SoCal outfit called "Pacific Bird and Supply
Co., Inc". So, I've been experimenting with some of those non-peanut types
(of course!) lately and actually they are pretty good. One ("Insect + Hot
Pepper Suet") has added hot pepper flakes advertised as a squirrel
deterrent, another without ("High Energy Suet"), and of course there's a bunch of
others containing some rendition of peanut matter. Either way in my case, #1
and #2, no squirrels, and the birds don't seem to mind the hot pepper
component either. So, my strategy this winter so far is to simply rotate the
varieties each time it's time to install a new suet block. That way, it
keeps the birds guessing and keeps them on their toes in having to get used to
the new rotating menu instead of just coming to accept the same old tried
and true insect infused "Oregon Suet Block". They all take to all these
renditions quite readily but just a bit slower by virtue of changing the pace
and that cuts down the consumption rate and saves a wee bit of money in
the long run.

Disclaimer! I am in no way connected to companies and products named in
this post, financially or otherwise. Just merely saying what I've found
that works for me and that I am happy enough for that.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA

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