Asked July 8, 2019, 2:13 PM EDT

Why are the birds eating at the suet feeders so much this year? Usually suet feeding drop off during the summer to it hardly needs replenishing. I'm seeing all varieties of birds at the feeders, not just the woodpeckers and starlings, but also finches,Goldfinches, grosbeaks, towhees and others. And this is in the Brightwood/Welches neighborhood.

Clackamas County Oregon

2 Responses

You raise an interesting question. There are many potential explanations across a wide range of possibilities. For example, it may be that with our *relatively* cool summer thus far, the suet itself isn't going rancid as quickly as it normally would and is thus more useful and attractive to the birds. I have no data on insect or seed abundance for this year compared to other years, but there's always the possibility that the relative abundance of natural and normal sources of food are down locally, making the suet a high-value, and consistently available resource. I too am seeing suet visitation by the goldfinches and now some bushtits, so I agree that it seems like an interesting year or time of year for suet-related behaviors. I have wondered whether the majority of birds I'm seeing are young-of-the-year discovering an easy meal and/or parents needing a nutritional boost to regain their own fat levels --- maybe to attempt an additional clutch..? It would be very interesting to ask whether Portland Audubon is fielding a spike similar observations.

It's true that there have been many families of various birds clustered at the feeders. Have had three or four hairys and flickers at a feeder or its locale. Had five white breasted nuthatches at a feeder too. Many grosbeaks clustered. Many of the suet feeders are being hit in the course of hitting on the sunflower seeds or the water, but not as much. But then the huckleberry bushes are almost depleted also.