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On the suet-- wow, totally different from my fairly brief experience 
using beef suet.  I'll have to try it again.  I didn't put up two 
feeders, but just put the beef suet into my regular (upside down) suet 
feeder, and it was used much, much less frequently than the packaged 
stuff with seeds or corn or whatever in it.

I wonder whether there's a difference among species.  My upside-down 
ones are patronized almost exclusively by hairy, downy and red-bellied 
woodpeckers, with the very occasional nuthatch.  Other birds like suet, 
too, of course, but I was having such a problem with starlings and 
bluejays running through the suet so quickly, I gave up on using 
anything but the upside-down ones rather than feed these gluttons all 
winter.

What kind of feeder do you have, and who's eating the suet?

As for Redpolls, you might want to check out the discussion at the ABA 
link posted in a message this afternoon, 
http://blog.aba.org/2013/01/open-mic-redpolls.html.

There seems to be a fairly general consensus now that there may not be 
such a thing as a Hoary Redpoll.  Still worth keeping track, I would 
think, with a careful description of the characteristics of any possible 
Redpoll, because they may eventually find DNA evidence of a separate 
species or subspecies, even if they haven't yet.

Jane
(Shoreham)

On 1/23/2013 9:40 PM, Martha McClintock wrote:
> 1.  Just for fun, I put up two identical suet feeders, about a yard apart.
> One has beef suet and the other a processed suet cake.  I am about to
> refill the beef suet for the third time and the suet cake still looks
> largely untouched.  While the suet cakes are a good idea when the weather
> gets warmer, do others find that birds prefer the "real" thing?
>
> 2. My feeders are getting a LOT of action, including four mourning doves (I
> usually get two or three.)  One of the birds climbs into the large platform
> and feeds alone, pecking at the others who wait outside if they try to
> sneak closer.  Yesterday, two birds were on one side and one on the other
> and they took turns trying to approach.  When the dove in the feeder lunged
> at one, a bird on the other side took the opportunity to grab a seed. When
> the bird in the feeder changed directions to attack that bird, the one on
> the other jumped forward.  After a few minutes of this, the bird in the
> feeder did a serious attack and the other three retreated to the ground to
> pick up the "scraps."  A good show.
>
> 3. I am envious at those of you who get 200 redpolls at their feeders.  I
> have occasional groups of thirty or so but more often, I have one to five
> birds.  The colors vary SO much.  I do not believe that I have had a Hoary
> but sometimes they are so light.  Sibley states in his Guide to Bird Life &
> Behavior that their "plumage grades along a continuous spectrum in areas
> where both forms breed."  What do you find?  Are the color differences
> really obvious?  I have put a few awful pictures of flickr...they are quite
> skittish and I am forced to take the shots through windows.  I am sorry to
> bother but would love your thoughts if you have a second.
>
> The redpoll set:
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbmcclintock/sets/72157632594015469/
> <http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbmcclintock/sets/72157632594015469/>
> Thanks,
>
> Martha
> Westford
>
>
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