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Birds putting dry grass and sticks in suet feeder. (1 Viewer)

csdsm

Member
Why would birds be putting dried grass and sticks in the suet feeder? I noticed this a few days ago and now there is quite a bit more material than the first day I saw it. I haven't seen the culprit, but I'm getting a lot of house sparrows and house finches at the feeder right now. Prior to that I was getting lots of woodpeckers (Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Red-headed, Northern Flicker) as well as starlings and their bratty fledglings. The woodpeckers and starlings seem to have lost interest, not sure if it has anything to do with the dried grass and sticks or not.

I have a squirrel-proof double suet feeder with a seed hoop beneath. There is still suet in one side, but the other side has been filled with grass. There is also quite a bit of grass in the seed hoop below. This is a busy area with five feeders, so can't imagine that anyone would be trying to build a nest.

I've attached photos. Any thoughts?
 

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KC Foggin

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This is definitely a new one on me. Both feeders appear to be well in the open so I cannot think they would try to build a nest in them. Maybe the cage within a cage one but certainly not the other. It will interesting to see if anyone else has any answers.

Hi csdsm and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum.

We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

csdsm

Member
Thanks for the warm welcome!

You are correct, this is out in the open. Very busy feeding area. I haven't seen anyone touching the grass or sticks these past few days. I'm considering taking them out of the feeder but not refilling that side to see what, if anything, happens.

Might be worth trying. Keep us posted if you see any changes if you don't mind.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Really odd...My only thought echoed KC's in that perhaps someone thinks this is a good place to build a nest considered you do have the suet enclosed in the caged feeder. I know why it is put in the feeder as I am sure the starlings and squirrels are taking their share. You can get 'hot' suet which squirrels will not touch and in many cases other species of birds won't like either.
 

KC Foggin

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I haven't seen one bird that doesn't enjoy the hot pepper suet.
 

csdsm

Member
I've used hot seed in the past, but never tried hot suet!

Really odd...My only thought echoed KC's in that perhaps someone thinks this is a good place to build a nest considered you do have the suet enclosed in the caged feeder. I know why it is put in the feeder as I am sure the starlings and squirrels are taking their share. You can get 'hot' suet which squirrels will not touch and in many cases other species of birds won't like either.
 

csdsm

Member
Caught in the act!

So I did end up taking every speck of dried grass and twigs out of the suet feeder a few days ago but didn't refill it with suet.

Today I saw what I think is a male house sparrow going into the suet feeder but not actually touching the suet. When I checked the feeder it has new dried grass in it. He was also sitting on top of the feeder and shepherd's hook flicking his tail, puffing up, opening his beak (can't hear if he's making any noise...) Seems like territorial behavior??

Edit: Just now I finally saw him carrying dried grass into the feeder, so it's definitely him. Will try to get some pictures.
 
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csdsm

Member
Ive been following this in the shadows and would love an update :)
I saw a little male house sparrow putting dried grass in the feeder, but just a few pieces. It was not nearly as much material as the first photos. Then he just hung out on the shepherd's hook and acted territorial, but stopped adding material. Since he stopped adding grass, I eventually refilled with suet and haven't found any more grass since. Very odd!
 

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