Plastic-Free Bird Nerd: DIY Suet Cage Tail Prop

Pileated Woodpeckers Visit Longer When They Can Rest Their Tails, photo by Rebecca Rockefeller

by Rebecca Rockefeller, republished from Rock Farmer.

Become a plastic-free bird nerd with a DIY suet cage tail prop and DIY plastic-free suet cakes.

We have a couple of plastic-coated metal suet cages in our yard, and they attract a large variety of birds, year-round. The Pileated Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers that we love to watch were having trouble getting their large bodies to rest comfortably on the suet, though, which meant very short visits.

Flickers Like to Rest Their Tails, Too, photo by Rebecca Rockefeller

We looked around and found suet cages with large plastic tail props designed to fix this very problem. But we are working hard to refuse new plastic whenever we can, and this fell into the optional plastic category…Then I found a few new plastic zip ties on our local beach (you wouldn’t believe what washes up, but that’s for another post), and had those in my pocket while I was putting a new block of suet out; one of our suet cages hangs over my garden workbench, which has a stack of cedar shingles left over from a roofing project. The zip ties in my pocket, the shingles, and the suet cage all united in my mind, then quickly in reality to form a wooden tail prop for our woodpeckers.

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers Love a Good Tail Prop, photo by Rebecca Rockefeller

Our larger bird friends spend longer eating suet now, which means we get more time to observe and appreciate them, but even the smaller Junkohs and Chickadees like the tail prop. When the breeze spins it, they catch a ride on the suet carousel, watching the world from their wooden perch.

Even Small Birds Like to Hang on the Tail Prop, photo by Rebecca Rockefeller

You, too, can be a plastic-free bird nerd with a DIY suet cage tail prop:

  • Drill 3 holes across the thick edge of a wooden shingle.
  • Thread sturdy wire through each hole, then line the shingle up with the bottom of your metal suet cage and wire it into place.
  • Fill with DIY plastic-free suet block – Pioneering the Simple Life has an easy recipe.
  • Enjoy the company of your feathered friends.

Don’t buy new plastic – Make your own suet block tail prop from a wooden shingle.

If you’re looking for other interesting DIY ideas for your suet feeding, visit our Trash Backwards app:

Click Through for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Ideas for Suet Feeders at Trash Backwards

Click Through for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Ideas for Suet Feeders at Trash Backwards


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Categories: DIY, Plastic-Free Living, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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3 Comments on “Plastic-Free Bird Nerd: DIY Suet Cage Tail Prop”

  1. Gretel Clark
    June 25, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Rebecca, I love this one! We have red bellied woodpeckers come to our suet feeders whose visits I can now elongate.

  2. June 25, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Gretel, I’m so glad you like this one! Please let me know how it works out for you… And I’d love to see a photo of your red bellied woodpeckers – We don’t have those here!

  3. December 2, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Hello, Rebecca. What a wonderful idea. I’ve been dismayed watching the larger woodpeckers struggle at the suet feeder. I had some laminate floor boards left over from an installation years ago and decided to use a piece of that material. I also thought that it might be too slick for the squirrels to hang from. So, following your instructions, I assembled it with the help of my neighbor who did the cutting of the board and the drilling of holes and, voila – the woodpeckers now have a stable prop. Thank you for the suggestion. I’d like to attach a pic but don’t know how.
    Mary Ann

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