Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Attract More Birds To Your Outdoor Feeders

Hi everyone!  If you've read my blog before, you know that my husband and I love to feed and watch the birds in our backyard.

  Last year, we discovered something that the birds here really, really love to eat -- it's called bark butter.  We first purchased it at our local Wild Birds Unlimited store, along with a fairly small log containing three holes to hold the bark butter. We hung this from a chain under the eave of our screened porch.  This is a good spot for our bird feeders because they're visible from the kitchen window and from our den, as well.

The people who own our local franchise of Wild Birds Unlimited are truly the nicest folks.  They're very knowledgeable about so many birds, as well as local birdwatching societies, etc.  We've been shopping there for bird supplies, on and off, for many years.  For a long time, we stopped feeding the birds because we were too busy to enjoy them, and also because the squirrels kept eating all the food and driving us crazy.

But last winter, we decided to give it another try.  We purchased a new seed feeder and the feeder for bark butter.  You can read about that Here. What I want to share with you today is a recipe for bark butter that you can make at home, and you just won't believe how many different birds you'll attract with it.  But it takes a little while for them to discover it and "get the word out" to their buddies, so you'll need to be patient in the beginning.

However, if you already have seed feeders and you already have established visitors to your feeders, then it may not take long at all for your bark butter to become a hit.  We were starting from scratch with the seed feeder and the bark butter, so it took us a little while to establish a following with the local birds.

This recipe comes from Whitney's Bird Blog:

2 c. lard
2 c. crunchy peanut butter (any brand)
4 c. cornmeal
2 c. bird seed (we use a mixed blend)
1 teas. honey
2 c. rolled oats (we used Quaker Quick Oats)

A large, inexpensive stainless steel bowl from Sam's Club works well to mix this in because it's plenty big enough for all the ingredients and the mixture doesn't stick to the bowl.

Don't let the spoon in this picture fool you; you will have to finish mixing this by hand.  You can get kitchen gloves or latex gloves that don't have that rubbery smell, and they'll keep your hands from getting so messy.  It really is a thick mixture.

At times like this...

...it helps to have a dedicated assistant.  :)

This Rubbermaid container holds five pounds of flour or sugar, and the last batch of bark butter we made filled this container about 2/3 full.  When the weather is cold and nasty, as it is this time of year, this amount will last about two to three weeks.  When spring and summer arrive, I'm thinking it may last a little longer.

The reason we started making our own bark butter is that once the birds discovered it and really started eating it, we realized we wouldn't be able to keep buying it from the Wild Birds Unlimited.  This is not intended as any criticism of the store; as I said earlier, they're super nice people, and we still buy things there.  But the bark butter at their store was $11.95 last time we bought it, and that price was for approximately a pint-size container.  As you can see, this recipe makes much more than that, and we usually have some ingredients left over to make more than one batch.  It does save us a lot of money to make our own.

One note I would add about this recipe is that in Whitney's blog, her recipe called for any kind of peanut butter -- either smooth or crunchy.  We used the crunchy because the peanuts are quite popular, and they attract these beauties...

Eastern Blue Birds

We knew that our neighborhood was full or Blue Birds because I used to see them perching up on the power lines along our street.  Some of our neighbors have several Blue Bird boxes, and I've seen the Blue Birds flitting in and out of the boxes in spring.

We tried putting out Blue Bird boxes, but we could never get them to nest there.  My in-laws love to feed the birds and have been doing so for years.  They get every variety imaginable, but they've never had Blue Birds come to their seed feeders or their suet feeders.  They had decided that the Blue Birds just don't eat at bird feeders.

Imagine our surprise when one day last spring, we saw a blue bird eating from the bark butter log.  They didn't visit us much during the summer, but when cold weather returned last fall, they came back.  This past Christmas, we bought a second style of bark butter feeder.

It was a big hit.  :-D

If you're a bird watcher and you like to feed your backyard birds, I hope you'll give this a try.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thanks for your visit today.  I'll be joining Yvonne at Stone Gable for her Thursday party, Tutorials, Tip and Tidbits.  I hope you'll stop by there for a visit, as well.  Have a great day!



  1. This looks like a great treat for the birds. We stopped feeding the birds several years ago, because the squirrels were getting most of the food. I think the bark feeder will really work well, and we can hang it from the deck so the squirrels hopefully won't get it. Thanks for the recipe and directions for making it.

  2. What a great idea. I want to get a hummingbird feeder, although I don't know if hummingbirds flit around here. I know they do in NJ. Do the squirrels try to get into these feeders, or is the opening too small? xo

  3. I sometimes put out bird seed too as I love to see the birds come and visit. I live in the city so I don't get as many varieties of birds visiting. I do find watching them such a delight, especially when they splash in the birdbath. I;ve not heard of bark butter yet.

  4. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Denise. I have seen bluebirds, but never at our feeding stations...maybe this will lure them!

  5. I still haven't had any takers for the homemade suet cake...perhaps it's all about the peanut butter. I'd so love to see bluebirds again!

  6. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Denise. I will have to look for a bird feeder that will hold the butter. Your little doggie assistant is so cute. xo

  7. I am so glad you shared this recipe. I've got to get a feeder for it, but I am going to make it for sure. We have an established feeder out front, but I would like to get one or 2 out back, too. We used to have a great little bird shop in town until is closed last year. I'm so sad about it because they really had some great things and the owner was always so helpful. She helped me to find a hummingbird feeder that I just love and we watched those little guys all summer.

  8. Thanks for the tip. We have bluebirds all over our neighborhood and have a bluebird house that they have nested in once. I've been wanting to find a way to attract them!

  9. Oh this is great! I have a bark butter feeder and used it for a while, but the bark butter got so expensive, that I put the feeder away. I can't wait to give this recipe a try. Pinned it too! Thank you for sharing this! You have a lot of fun stuff on your blog and I'm happy to be following along via GFC so I don't miss anything!

  10. I do so love blue birds and want them so badly so I must make myself make your recipe and get a feeder. Our yard is wooded so they will not build in the bird house I have. If they would just visit the feeder I would be happy.

    Thank you for your tutorial. It is very appreciated and very good. I hope to have the energy to do it. I have so many projects I don't know where to begin. I know many people are going to benefit from your post.

    It is raining here today as was yesterday. Have a good weekend sweet friend.

  11. Oh Denise, so sorry I missed this post...what gorgeous things the bluebirds are! I've also copied the bark butter recipe as I'm certain the UK birds will enjoy it too :o)
    Rose H

  12. I just made this as part of a Christmas gift and I am so excited about it! Thanks so much for sharing! I've never made bark butter before, but this will be my go-to recipe from now on!



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