The little plot of woods behind our house has an assortment of deer, snakes, raccoons and an unknown creature that apparently enjoys hot pepper suet. The last two suet treats that Warren put out were ripped off the tree, basket and all, and are still MIA.
Suet, a raw hard fat found around the loins and kidneys of beef or sheep, is high energy winter feed which attracts a variety of birds that normally feed on insects. Suet is often mixed with berries or nuts to make it even more appealing to feathered friends.
In our yard, we only offer suet blended with red hot chili pepper extract. Researchers at Cornell University discovered that mammals have the ability to feel the effects of capsaicin, the heat producing chemical in hot pepper, where birds do not.
We (or I should say Warren) adds hot pepper to the variety of seed we use. We found that the squirrels in our neighborhood don’t come back for seconds.
The raids on our suet feeder occur at night, so perhaps it is a possum with an appetite for habanero and an extraordinary tolerance for heat.
Or maybe this guy is down by our creek sweating and panting each night.
If you care to render your own suet, the Nutty Birdwatcher has some lovely recipes.