This morning, a male pileated woodpecker came to visit -- and found both suet feeders empty, in spite of our frequent checks on them. I photographed Mr. Big Bird, below, as he gave up and took off.
It's the starlings who throw me off; they're not supposed to be able to use the hanging suet feeders, but some, the big fat smart ones, can do it, and they gobble up the suet as quickly as we put it out. The yard is full of starlings these days, and grackles, and redwing blackbirds, and cowbirds. Only the starlings are considered an invasive species; the others belong in North America and are a natural part of the bird scene here.
The little birds don't seem too bothered by these more aggressive species most of the time. They just wait nearby until the coast is clear, then take their turn at the feeders. The woodpeckers seem to ignore them completely, unless large numbers of starlings gang up on them. Soon the starlings and grackles will move off into the fields in search of grain -- and good riddance!
There was a recall of some kinds of peanut suet due to the Peanut Corporation of America situation--the recall includes Morning Song, available in Walmart and other places. The FDA recall can be read here: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/scotts03_09.html
Thanks for reading!