xt7jh98zct60_17 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1957 March 12 text 1957 March 12 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_17/1957_3_12_Bevins_How_to_feed_the_birds_p1.pdf 1957 March 12 1957 1957 March 12 section false xt7jh98zct60_17 xt7jh98zct60 amass;
Morning View Kentucky
12 March 1957
Hello Mr McCarthy ,
as I replenished the suet supply in flue feeder this morning, all

‘\ the while enjoying the sunshine of which we have had so little

§ this winter, I remembered that some of your listeners were rather

? uncertain as to what suet to feed and how to best do it.

7 I frankly admit I know little of the sceintific feeding of wild
birds, but I have been feeding them since before I could pronounce

, them and have evolved a fairly complete pattern of what they like

' best and how they prefer it served to them. I know, for instance,

. that, if he cannot find any elsewhere, a Red Bird will pick a
sunflower seed out of one of those fancy little seed-filled suet
cakes; but he does it with the utmost distaste, pausing frequently
to polish the suet from his bill. Redbirds are much happier When

, sunflower seeds are loose in a feeder or merely heaped on the ground.
As to suet, I always ask the butcher for that frOm around a beef
kidney. It is flaky and crumbly so even the smallest birds can
easily worry off a bite, and larger felIOWs such as the Red Bellied
Woodpecker can triumphantly haul away pieces the size of marbles.

I use so much suet here in the woodpeckery tree patch that I get

the entire great mass of it which surrounds the kidney and pop it

in the freeZer, cutting off appropriate chunks as it is needed in .
the feeder.

v lhe feeder is a simple thing, made to specifications out of a book,
and given to me by a friend. It consists of a back board about 18
inches long, 6 wide, and 3/4 of an inch thick, which fastens to the
tree. About 4 inches up from its lOWer edge, a little shelf 8 inches

_ Wide and 6 inches from front to back is nailed. It is sufficiently

‘ high from the end of the board to allow for a brace beneath. Around
the edge of the shelf stands a half inch high strip of molding to
provide better footing.

Near the top of the backboard, its peak 9 inches above the shelf,
and its sides each about 6 inches long, is a little peaked roof,
extending outward about 5 inches. It is almost no protection from
weather, but gives the birds a feeling of protection from attacks
from above. Furthermore, it is a convenient perch when waiting in
line for the suet. ,
Above the shelf, driven into the edges of the backboard, two on each
side, are four nails, with their heads left sticking out about an
inch. The suet itself I wrap in a piece of the smaller menh chicken
Wire which has openings about an inch across. The holes in the wire
are ample for any bird, but such raiders as cats, pcssoms, and scene
cannot haul it away. The wire containing the suet is stood on the

‘ shelf against the backboard and tied to the nails above mentioned.



 ’ .
i _2_.

‘ It should be about six feet above the ground, which is high enough
to satisfy the woodpeckers and yet sufficiently low to attract such
birds as Brown Thrashers and Catbirds. It is best to have it in
as shady a spot as possible, particularly if it is to be kept filled
the year round.

A suet feeder is enormously rewarding, if for no other reason than
that it gathers woodpeckers which are always delightful with their
scalloped flight and wind-up-toy walk. I keep suet available all
summer, putting out smaller pieces, for, if they know they can rely
upon it as a constant scourse of food, the parent woodpeckers bring
the babies to it immediately upon their departure from the nest.

All young birds Just out of the nest are so agog as to be practically
unmanageable, and little woodpeckers are specialists in perversity.
It is easy to tell when a family of them is approaching through the
trees, for, with the parents shouting frantically at the babies, and
the babies shouting Just because they can, the din is terrific.

‘ There are many detours between the nest and the suet tree, though
it be but a short distance. Despite the most animated herding, and
guiding, and leading by the adults, the little felloWS stray
exhuberantly in every direction. One may find a tree he likes and
cling there with the utmost stubbornness, not to be lured into
flight by even the most tempting bits of proffered suet. Not for
anything, would one of the youngsters simply fly along with his

. parents to the suet tree.

Finally, when the struggling oldsters do succeed in getting one to
the suet tree, they stick him on the side of it with a big lump of
suet to keep him busy, and hurry off to round up the rest of the

’ family. Perhaps by this time one of the little fellows has Joined a
group of young titmice and wandered off half way across the tree
patch with them. He, of course, must be retrieved, and those who
had not gone so far must be also gathered up and rerouted toward
the suet tree. A "
By the time they have succeeded in guiding another baby to its
rough trunk, the youngster they left clinging there will have
consumed his bite of suet and set off on a tour of his own. As
both parents concentrate on him, it gives the others ample opportunity
to scatter once more.
In due time, perhaps because the youngsters finally tire, the entire
family is assembled on the ample trunk of the suet tree. ‘hat should
be the end of the matter, but it isn‘t. The parents then try to
walk the babies to the feeder itself, which promptly arouses them
to further digressions. Those on the trunk below the feeder
immediately back down aWay from it, while those above it scoot on
upward high into the branches. In no time at all, the whole tree
is alive with woodpeckers going in the wrong direction.

 I 1
It is usually several days before the young woodpeckers will
allow themselves to be lead to the suet tree and then to the
feeder without going through the whole delaying process all over
It is a study in frustration and I do not know what keeps the
poor harried parents from complete despair.
By the time squalling families of the various woodpecker species
have congretated at the feeder along with equally vocal clouds
of young Chickadees and Titmice and other suet eaters, the
feeder is an incomparable focal point of bird life which pays
a thouSand times over for the trouble of erecting it and keeping
it stocked.
I am pleased that so many people enjoyed hearing about the
owls, also very grateful for the kind things they said about my
letter. Owls are strangely fascinating, possibly because we
see so little of them, though we know they are living their
mysterious lives all about us.