suet bird feed ingredients garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest

For the Birds: Suet Logs

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Each December, the urge to CREATE sweeps into our home. C looks forward to taking a few days off before Christmas to play in Santa’s Workshop.

This year the project idea came from a store-bought gift we’d given C’s mum this summer. It was a bird feeder – a Suet Log to be more specific. It’s just like a tree branch with holes drilled & filled with a suet mixture. The birds, especially the woodpeckers, flocked to her 3rd-floor deck. They LOVED it

The fellow at the store said many birds find their food inside the bark of trees, so these feeders attracted more birds than those looking for seeds.  Customers had reported over 110 different varieties of birds using this feeder.

bird feeder
photo by SVSeekins

C had to make some himself.  His Santa’s Workshop project plan was in place early.

All summer & fall, we put commercial  ‘bark butter’ into Mum’s feeder each time we were at her apartment.  After a while, the cost added up, so I figured it was time to try making the birdfeed from scratch, too.

A year or so ago Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary gave me instructions for pine cone bird feeders. They were stuffing homemade bird suet into open pine cones. The idea intrigued me. I figured the fat should work just as well inside the drilled holes of C’s logs as it would inside the pine cones. Although I came across those instructions this summer & put them ‘somewhere safe,’ do you think I could find them now?

In the end, I found a recipe from Garden Wise magazine that would do the trick.

suet bird feed ingredients
photo by SVSeekins

Procuring most of the ingredients was straight forward.  Peanut butter, dried fruit & breadcrumbs were already in the kitchen.   I washed eggshells & stored them frozen until needed.  The sunflower seed & millet was sourced in the bulk section at Buckerfields, a local feed store.

The rendered fat (suet) was a little tougher. I looked around for plain suet blocks that could be melted down & converted into this pliable recipe for the logs.  Even on sale, these wouldn’t be cost-effective.

It turns out, suet is available from the butcher.  I went to a butcher that specializes in British fare.  The British use suet in spotted dick – a steamed pudding.  Who knew?

Once I’d collected all of the ingredients for our bird suet, it didn’t take long to put it all together.

suet bird feed in jars
photo by SVSeekins

For packaging, it was important to me not to be wasteful. So I decided on canning jars. I had lots of them, & they can be reused or recycled.

We’re pretty happy with the finished product.    Now we’re waiting to see what kind of bird will be the first to find the new feeder in our garden.


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9 thoughts on “For the Birds: Suet Logs”

    1. First I’m looking forward to some birds FINDING the feeder. It took a few days for the one on Mum’s deck to be discovered, too. Photos of birds feeding would be nice, too. The old digital I have works fine for many things, but tight shots of movement isn’t it’s strong suit. I have my fingers crossed.

  1. Yo SV; something that I can do for my yard – and I know what you mean about the digital camera for bird shots. We have a group of about 5 blue jays that visit our backyard regularly that I would love to take some pictures of, but none of them turn out. And we also had a couple of large woodpeckers that were the size of magpies in our yard last month. Maybe your recipe will lure them back?
    ps. that pudding recipe sounds icky 🙂

    1. There’s a really good chance that the woodpeckers will be back – – perhaps they’ve just gone south? They stick around here year round, but I remember the flickers showing up in the spring up north…. and, Yeah, just the name of that pudding puts me off a bit, much less that rendered fat is a major ingredient 🙂 They’re the same cooks responsible for Haggis…

  2. Cool idea, I’m sure the birds will spread the word once they have a taste. You may have a new job to keep you busy!!

    1. let me know if you try it out…. ingredients are available & you’ve got the skills. I look forward to seeing your photos of the birds up there that enjoy it


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