Bark butter for birds is easy to make and way less expensive than purchasing it already made. Use bark butter in addition to your other feeders to attract a wider variety of birds. When I first found out about bark butter, someone described it as “crack” for birds because they loved it so much.
What kind of nuts to use in your bark butter?
I use the Southwest No-Mess Blend (without peanut halves) from Wild Birds Unlimited. The No-Mess Blend doesn’t have shells, so I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess on the ground under the bird feeders. I also have catch trays attached to the bottoms of my feeders so there’s less that gets dropped on the ground. Don’t worry–there’s still enough dropped on the ground to feed the pigeons. We’ve even had a lone squirrel in the yard lately. Too much bird seed dropped on the ground attracts mice and unwanted insects.
Since I use the No-Mess Blend for my regular feeders as well as for bark butter, I get the mix that has chopped peanuts in smaller pieces instead of peanut halves. I found that the peanut halves are too big and clog the feeding ports in my big feeder. Then the birds are unable to get the seed out of the feeder.
Sometimes guests leave us their uneaten nut snacks or trail mix. If the mix is unsalted and unroasted, I’ll keep those and add them to my bird seed mix for the next batch of bark butter. Salt is not good for birds. Nuts are typically roasted in oil, which then goes rancid much quicker than unroasted nuts.
Keep nuts fresh by keeping them in the freezer if you don’t go through them very quickly. This works well for peanuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts. I buy Nyjer thistle for my goldfinch feeders in the 5-pound bag. Goldfinches are very finicky about the freshness of the seed and won’t eat stale thistle. I keep thistle in a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer until I need it. The goldfinches are very happy since I started doing this!
Bark butter attracts different birds
When I made the log feeder for bark butter, we started getting different birds in our yard in addition to the birds that love the domed feeder. Some birds prefer to climb on the bark of trees and look for food and insects. First we had ladderback woodpeckers come to visit, and we are now on their regular rounds in the neighborhood. For the past few years, we’ve had nuthatches in our yard. We had a nesting pair spend the entire winter last year.
Bark butter makes a great Christmas gift for bird lovers
Bark butter can be a very welcome and meaningful Christmas or birthday gift for a bird lover. Present it in a nice airtight container with a lid. You can also print the recipe and give it to them with the bark butter so they can make their own. For a complete gift package, make a bark butter feeder–it only takes about 10 minutes to make.
Make your own bark butter feeder
My log feeder for bark butter is about 18 inches long and 4-5 inches in diameter with the bark left on it. I used a heavy duty eye screw in the top of the log and a short piece of cord to hang it. I used a drill with a 5/8 inch drill bit to make about a dozen holes around the log spaced apart. The holes are bored on a downward angle so the bark butter will go down into it and not fall out on the ground. The birds hang onto the bark on the log and eat every bit of bark butter out of the holes!
Enjoy the birds in our yard at the Bottger Mansion of Old Town
Everyone describes the yard at the Bottger Mansion as “an oasis right in the heart of Albuquerque.” You can enjoy birdwatching in every season, as well as comfortable rooms and modern amenities in our historic bed & breakfast. Use the Bottger Mansion as home base for some amazing day trips, including to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Check availability and plan your stay today.
|Prep Time||5 minutes|
- 8 ounces lard
- 2 cups peanut butter (may also substitute any nut butter)
- 4 cups cornmeal
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups mixed bird seed if using nuts, be sure to use unroasted, no-salt nuts
- In a food processor, process the lard, peanut butter and cornmeal until it's a smooth paste.
- Add the rolled oats and process until well blended.
- Add the bird seed or nuts and process until well blended.
- Store at room temperature in a wide-mouth airtight container.