plus, the males have bright red toupees

My grandmother gave me a suet bird feeder for Christmas. 
Chickadee can't believe his good fortune

Chickadee can't believe his good fortune

That means the bird seed is suspended in beef fat and molded into a block that birds peck at.  Suet avec la peanut butter is all the rage amongst woodpeckers and chickadees.  They flock to it like…birds to a feeder.

As I watch the birds peck at the feeder I wonder if the suet is in their way, like a banana peel gets in my way.  Except the birds don’t have hands to wipe away the suet, so they unwillingly swallow it with the seeds thinking, “This is gross but worth the nutrition from the mustard seed thing encapsulated within the fat.”

I certainly don’t intend to annoy the birds by setting out my feeder, and they keep coming back so we must be on good terms.  I’ve enjoyed feeding the birds much more than I thought I would.

There is thick woods behind my back porch.  In the summer, the leaves creep right up to the railing and the light coming through my back windows is tinted green.  It can be a bit much.  I didn’t know that there were lots of woodpeckers living being my building until this winter.  In the summer, Boogey Man could be walking around out there and I wouldn’t know it until he came right up to the porch.

Encrouching flora

Encroaching flora

This is the same view, mid-winter.  Now I can see Boogey Man, woodpeckers, and must admit that I have neighbors.
Note the suet feeder

Note the suet feeder

 My favorite visitors to the feeder are Downy Woodpeckers.  They are small and (apparently) common in the U.S., but they were uncommon to me before the feeder came into both our lives.

So...they're not only in MY backyard?

The moment I realized they're not only in MY backyard

Downy Woodpecker loves suet avec la peanut butter

Downy Woodpecker loves suet avec la peanut butter

It isn’t because I particularly like birds.  I don’t like beaks or talons.  You can’t really pet them, I’ve never seen a snuggly bird.  However, I do like watching their jerky head-movements and how they appear and disappear without warning.  Plus, the males have bright red toupees.

But beyond critiquing the woodpeckers’ hair, I know that I keep re-filling the feeder because I want to take care of something.  In a small and silly way, I feel less alone when they are out there.  My maternal instinct keeps me buying 99 cent blocks of beef fat with mustard seed things suspended inside.  What a peculiar and beautiful thing.

Downy Woodpecker getting food sans peanut butter

Downy Woodpecker pecks for food sans peanut butter


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