How to Attract More Birds to Your Yard

A red-bellied woodpecker on a suet feeder.

A red-bellied woodpecker on a suet feeder.

While it is true that many birds migrate to warmer climates for the winter, there are plenty of species that stay in town and adapt to the seasonal change.

Cardinals, chickadees, tufted titmouse, downy and hairy woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, and more are some of our year-round residents.

Many experts agree that the best food to provide is plain black oil sunflower seeds. These have thinner shells and higher oil contents than some other seeds, making them nutritious and efficient for a wide variety of seed-eating birds.

In addition to seed feeders, another way to attract birds–especially woodpeckers– to your yard is by putting out suet. Suet is defined as the hard, white fat on the kidneys and loins of animals like cattle. Animal fat is easily digested and metabolized by many birds and it’s a high-energy food, especially valuable in cold weather.  Suet mixes are often available in stores where bird food is sold, but you can easily make it yourself. Here is the recipe:

Taking a Bird to Lunch Suet Recipe

1 cup Crisco

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 cups corn meal

1 cup oatmeal

black oil sunflower seeds

dried mealworms (you can buy these at a WildBird store or where bird food is sold.)


Soften or melt Crisco and peanut butter over medium heat. Stir in mixed corn meal and oatmeal until smooth. Remove from heat. Add black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms and raisins. (You can use all three or mix and match. Amounts will vary according to which ones you choose. Use your judgement, from 1/2 cup to 2 cups)

Flour a 9×13 pan and freeze overnight. Then cut to size and put squares in freezer proof zip lock bags. Keep in freezer until needed. Put them in your suet feeder (Here’s a feeder that has room for seeds and suet) and watch them enjoy your homemade offering! Happy birding!



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