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A garden is not made in a year; indeed it is never made in the sense of finality. It grows, and with the labour of love should go on growing.

~Frederick Eden~

Attracting Woodpeckers - Suet Recipe

Woodpeckers common to North America sport a range of sizes and colors. No matter where you live, there's a woodpecker in your region!

We have been fascinated seeing these birds on our feeders and, at the same time, been frustrated by the expense of providing them with their favorite food: Suet.
Purchasing suet cakes soon can get spendy, so for the last 2 months we have been making our own. We searched the internet and tested out some of the recipes. Not all of them are created equal and we're hoping you will find the one we prefer as easy, adaptable and useful as we have.

Our Recipe

We tried rendering our own suet first! Yuck, it stunk up the whole house for days, so we changed to store-bought lard, much easier on the nose, trust us!
For nine cakes you will need:

  • a large pot (spaghetti cooking type works well)
  • a cardboard box (large Pizza box taped around the sides will make nine 5x5 inch cakes)
  • plastic wrap - line the box completely with wrap

  • equal amounts of lard and peanut butter - we don't measure exactly, we use 2/3 of a 28 ounce container of peanut butter and estimate an equal amount of lard from the bucket.
    Put on stove at low heat until liquid, stir frequently
  • 6 cups of binders: cornmeal and/or flour - stir
  • 4 cups of fillers: oats and/or cream of wheat - stir
  • any combination of these until pot is about 3/4 way filled: birdseed mix, dried fruit (raisins etc) and unsalted nuts (cracked sunflower) - stir well
  • pour into the plastic-lined box and let cool. Use a sharp knife to cut into 5x5 inch cakes (standard suet feeder size), wrap with plastic and store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

More Info about Woodpeckers

None of the North American Woodpeckers care for birdbaths. Their habitat is back yards, gardens and large trees.
Location, Location, Location!
Birds will assess the qualitiy of the real estate before nesting. Food, water and shelter in close proximity will make it much more likely you'll have a nesting pair - providing you with that much more bird watching fun later in the season!


  • All of US: Northern Flicker, Downy and Hairy Woodpecker
  • Eastern US: Red-Bellied woodpecker and Red-Headed Woodpecker
  • South and Central Texas: Golden-Fronted Woodpecker


  • Suet
  • Fruit - both dried and fresh oranges cut in half
  • Nut Meats
  • Cracked sunflower seeds.
  • Sugar water


There's a multitude of suet feeders availabe. The majority are of the cage-type and will hold a single 5x5 inch cake of about 1 inch thickness. You will notice that other birds love the suet treats as well.

We have recently built a different type of suet feeder that provides access to the suet from the bottom only. We're currently testing how well this works to redirect crackles and starlings to our regular seed feeders.


February in the Garden:

Feed the Birds!
Start Seeds:
Add a spot for butterflies
to 'warm-up'