NEW WILMINGTON, Pa – You may think all birds eat are worms, just a common misconception for the untrained birder. Many feeders you see around have a substance stuck on them that the birds peck at, that substance is called Suet and Professor Patrick Krantz’ Environmental Science class made some. The bird species target for the suet was the Woodpecker, but that isn’t the only expected visitor. The Black-capped Chickadee and White-breasted Nuthatch are the other two species abundant around the Field Station where the suet will be dispersed.
The making of the suet was the most interesting part of the day as we watched Professor Krantz’ students get their hands dirty with all the ingredients. While we stood and watched the class we noticed the resentful faces while they felt the mixture. The process was relatively simple; first, the students started with a few scoops of animal fat, followed that with around the same amount of peanut butter, heated the mixture until it was a liquefied, placed it into a foil pan, mixed the oats to make the mixture more of a mash, added bird seed and then finally poured the mix into a smaller pan to cool for the finished product. There are many other recipes for making bird suet, like this one Suet Recipes, at the Baltimore Bird Clubs website. This process was simple, but very messy as well.
First-hand accounts from students Hampton Young and Athena Cardiges told the truth of the experience. They both speak of the texture of the animal fat as well as the feeling of touching it with their bare hands. From the looks of their reactions as well as all their fellow students in the class, mixing with their hands did not look like an attractive task. Hampton Young, in his interview said that was he a little scared at first to touch and mix the suet but once he did he found it wasn’t as bad as he thought. The finished suet will be placed on all the feeders at the Field Station and hopefully the birds enjoy eating it more than the students enjoyed making it.