What is Bark Butter and How Do You Use It?

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Bark Butter is well known for its ability to attract a massive variety of birds - over 150 species to date. It was first designed with the idea of attracting Brown Creepers, a species that typically will not visit feeders. It is extremely successful at doing so. Check out this Brown Creeper visiting Bark Butter, both smeared on  bark and a feeder. 

Brown Creeper eating BarkButter smeared on bark. Photo by Leanne Leblanc. 

Brown Creeper eating at Suet Cylinder Log Feeder, smeared with Bark Butter. Photo by Leanne Leblanc. 

What is Bark Butter?

It is suet in spreadable form, allowing you to turn anything and everything into a Bark Butter feeding station. Whether you are smearing right onto tree bark, or the side of one of our feeders made for it, it helps attract birds that are not typically feeder birds. 

It is made from a mixture of suet, peanut butter and corn and works well year round. Because of the calcium content, it supports egg development and growth during nesting season - many birds will feed it to their young. 

Bark Butter Shapes

Tuffed Titmouse visiting Christmas tree shaped Bark Butter 

White-breasted nuthatch and Downy Woodpecker at star shaped Bark Butter. 

To create these fun and festive Bark Butter shapes, follow one of the following two methods:

  1. The cookie cutter method: find a cookie cutter in the shape that you are trying to make, such as this Christmas tree. Hold the cutter directly on the bark, fill with BarkButter and use your fingers or a utensil to pack it onto the trunk, while still holding the cutter. Once you remove the cutter, you should be able to further push down the bark butter and add any (edible) decorations you would like such as peanuts or dried fruit. 
  2. The freezer method: You can either put the Bark Butter in the freezer for a while just to harden it up and help it keep it’s shape during transfer, then pack it into the cookie cutter and put the shape you've made onto tree. Alternatively, you can use wax paper and create the BB Shapes with cookie cutters right on the sheet, freeze them and then transfer them onto trees in your yard. 

Bark Butter can help turn a stump into an incredible bird feeding station. Red-headed Woodpecker and Red Bellied Woodpecker eating Bark Butter. 

Creating Bark Butter shapes is an amazing activity to do with children, as it helps connect them to local biodiversity in an entertaining way. They can help make shapes and then tally which species show up. 

The ultimate birder holiday activity? Make Bark Butter shapes for your Project Feederwatch day. To learn more about Project Feederwatch and how you can participate, visit their official page here. 

If you create Bark Butter shapes we would love to see your photos, don't forget to tag us or share in the Ontario Birds by WBU Barrie and WBU Newmarket group. You can always tag us on Instagram @wbubarrie and/or @wbu.newmarket to be featured. 

Have fun out there!



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