We were buying suet by the wagon-load for a while there, what with the constant stream of uninvited, selfish, messy diners. We had the usual cage suet feeders that attached flat against the trees, and every day they were emptied and needed filling. The squirrels, the black birds, and the pileated woodpeckers made sure there was nothing left for the smaller suet-loving birds, who were hovering nearby licking their chops.
Then I saw something ingenious, either in a catalog or on one of the many blogs I hop to. It showed a suet feeder with the suet cage on the underside. Brilliant! (I would give credit where credit is due, but I honestly don't remember where I saw it.)
I showed it to the fix-it guy around here and he came up with this:
It's just a regular suet cage mounted upside down on a board. The rounded cover made from a soda bottle makes any potential bandit slide right off. It's attached to the tree with an old shelf bracket he had lying around, so the whole thing didn't cost a penny. (Well, maybe a dime, since he had to use a deposit bottle.)
The metal clamp holds the feeder shut and is easy to open when it comes time to fill it again--which isn't nearly as often any more.
The small birds love it and the big, aggressive birds--and squirrels--hate it. That's an added bonus, don't you think?