Everyone loves to have woodpeckers at their feeders all year long, but in the heat of the summer, suet can turn your bird feeding station into a mess. Here in Indiana and in many other locations around the country, it’s already been hot enough for suet to start to melt. Melting suet not only creates a mess on your feeders in your yard, but it can be harmful to the birds that you are trying to feed.
Melting suet can coat the belly feathers of the birds that are eating it, which can be a huge problem during the summer months when these species are incubating their eggs. Bird’s eggs have tiny pores in them that allow the developing bird inside to get enough oxygen. The suet that gets on the belly of an incubating bird can then transfer to the egg and close off those pores. Eggs that do not get enough oxygen can’t survive and will not hatch.
Most suet cakes claim to be good to use up to 85° Fahrenheit, but I tend to switch over to no-melt doughs before it gets that warm, especially if my feeder is in direct sunlight. If you do end up with a suet cake melting in your feeder, be sure to clean the feeder out extremely well before refilling it with no-melt dough. You can usually find no-melt dough in the same locations that you purchase regular suet.