I’ve been watching a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers build a home inside a stump beneath the staghorn fern outside my kitchen window. I’m doing a lot more dishes lately, and watching these two makes it so much nicer. The construction went on forever. They pecked tirelessly all day, and dropped a staggering amount of sawdust on the palm fronds below. Now I’m amazed by the meticulously carved, smooth interior just inside the hole.
Fred has a full helmet of red, while Mary’s forehead is gray. I read they lay 1 egg a day for 4-5 days, and then they take turns incubating them. I think that’s where we’re at now. They do their beautiful call to each other when it’s time for a switcheroo, so I look outside to watch them trade places. They don’t seem to mind us watching them from the screened porch, but to get some decent photos I had to go all the way outside. I sat on the porch steps for a while, then I moved a chair a little closer. They got used to me, and I finally got some better photos.Mary is so cute.These suet snacks are a great activity for all of us hunkering down. I thought about hanging them individually with twine, but ended up placing them in a flat screen-bottom bird feeder instead. I love that style because it’s so easy to keep clean. I put a few logs in there in case they wanted to perch on them. Since we’re all staying home and resources are limited, use whatever you have on hand and can spare. I will admit I had a hard time parting with peanut butter for birds. I gave them the kind I don’t like as much. Suet is technically hard animal fat, but peanut butter, coconut oil, and tahini will all work. All of these oils, along with the nuts and seeds, can go rancid in the Florida heat. Birds don’t like that. They also don’t like soggy moldy stuff, so only make enough to last a week, maybe two. When it comes to the sprinkle toppings, I’m still experimenting with what all the birds like best. I have learned blue jays prefer dry cat food over mealworms, go figure. Pinecone Suet
Twine for hanging, if you want
Peanut butter or tahini
Toppings: Dried fruit (cut into tiny bits), Nuts, Seeds, Mealworms
First attach twine to the pinecones if you’d like to hang them.
Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil in few second intervals in the microwave or over a double boiler, stirring often. Drizzle over each pinecone. Sprinkle on whatever toppings you have on hand. Allow to set. Either hang or place somewhere protected, high up, and safe for your birds to enjoy.
I’d love to hear about the birds in your backyard, your favorite feeders, and what they like to eat. Also, please share all your squirrel deterrents! We’re getting ready for mango season, after all. This old post has one of my tactics.
Take care, my friends!
Great photos! Enjoying the continued love story of Fred and Mary and looking forward to when they have little peeps!
Thanks, Aunt Mary Ann! Your namesake bird is the cutest, don’t you think? I’m eagerly awaiting those little peeps.
What a great show you guys get to watch, and your pinecone suet will certainly keep them happily fed. You got some really nice pics.
Truth be told, I have not actually seen the woodpeckers eating it yet. I can’t see it from the kitchen window. I can tell something’s enjoying it, though!