DIY Bark Butter & Log Feeder for Birds
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Every winter I get much enjoyment from feeding the birds, and every winter I try to think of something a little different to try for the birds too just to keep things interesting. This year I thought it might be fun to try a log feeder for birds, which is basically a small log with some circular indentations drilled into it which can then be filled with suet dough plugs or with bark butter. (So far the woodpeckers are liking this new feeder the best!)
One of the most popular bark butters is made by Wild Birds Unlimited. But because their 2 Lb container will cost you almost $15, there’s plenty of folks out there wondering if they can save a few bucks and make their own bark butter for log feeders (me included!)
After doing a little research on this, I found a couple of recipes for DIY bark butter that I immediately recognized as the same formula I use for my No Melt Suet Dough for birds. I mixed up a small batch (but eliminated the sugar this time around) and it was indeed the right consistency to use in a log feeder.
I decided we could just make our own log feeder too. We have a small pile of wood out back left over from a tree we cut down a few years ago. So I put on my boots, tramped out through the snow, and picked out a small log. My log choice is a bit skinnier than many log feeders, but I liked that it had a little branch still jutting out of it that I thought would be perfect for birds to perch on. I then asked Bob to drill a few indentations into the log. He also put on his boots, tramped out to the driveway, and got this part of the job done using a 1″ spade bit. He also drilled a hole in the top of the log and added a large eye hook for hanging the log.
Then we came in out of the 15 degree weather, took off our boots, and warmed up . 🙂
The next step was to mix up a little bit of my DIY Bark Butter for birds recipe and spread some into the holes in my log. But honestly, I think you don’t even necessarily need the holes, and you could probably also just spread this around anywhere you wanted on the log, just kind of filling it into any nooks or crannies in the bark that you see. (I think you could also do this directly onto any tree branch too).
My homemade bark butter recipe is a mixture of oats, cornmeal, and flour mixed together with the wet ingredients of peanut butter and melted lard (the complete recipe is at the end of this post).
And then our new DIY log feeder with our DIY bark butter was complete and I headed back out into the snow to hang it up with hopeful expectations that the birds would enjoy this new addition.
And within just a few minutes we already had a woodpecker checking it out! I’ve also had a few juncos, nuthatches, and chickadees checking it out too. However every time I try to get a picture of the birds visiting our new log feeder, they flit away before I’m successful.
Because so many of the other DIY bark butter recipes that I found were very large recipes, I thought I would share here a smaller batch version. This is a nice starting point if you want to get started with a log feeder and want a smaller amount to fill a few of the holes to see how the birds will like it, or you just want a little bit to spread around on a tree branch. This is a quarter of the full size version of my no melt suet dough recipe. (If you want the full size you can find it here: No Melt Suet Dough Recipe).
If you like the idea of making your own suet dough plugs and bark butter but don’t want to make your own log feeder, you can buy also buy something like this log bird feeder that’s all made and ready to fill too.
Small Batch Bark Butter Recipe
- 1/2 cup Oats
- 1/2 cup Cornmeal
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup Peanut Butter (I use chunky)
- 1/4 cup Lard
- Combine the oats, cornmeal, and flour in a mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter on top of the dry ingredients.
- Melt the lard in a microwave safe container. (I use my glass measuring cup). This should take about 30 to 45 seconds. I usually stop microwaving before it's totally melted and just stir it to melt the last remaining bits.
- Pour the melted lard over the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir to combine everything together.
- Spread a little bit of the mixture into the holes in a log feeder for birds, or you can spread some directly onto a tree branch.
- Store any remaining mixture in a covered container for later use.
You can check out my other bird feeding recipes here:
More DIY Birdseed Cakes and Bird Feeding Ideas
I’m so glad I found you!!!
I hope this doesn’t sound like a stupid question but even if it does here it goes!
Is it ok to use a pine log for this? I feed several different kinds of woodpeckers, and flickers, and didn’t know if the type of wood made a difference.
And I’ve never actually bought lard. Any help?
Believe it or not I’ve got loads of feeders out. But I like instructions. Lol
Thanks so much.
I think any type of log (including a pine log) should work just fine. I’ve been able to find lard in the grocery stores in the International foods aisle with Hispanic products. It comes in a tub (like margarine) and one side is labeled in Spanish as “Manteca” and the other side in English as “Lard”.
I wanted to thank you for your bark butter recipe.. it’s an incredible hit with all my visiting feathered friends..
Thank you 😊
I’m so glad the birds are enjoying this homemade treat!
Hubby and I decided to try this last weekend. Hunted up the logs and he drilled the holes while I made the bark butter. That was about 5 days ago and I’ve refilled the logs 3 times now. They love it! Thanks for the idea and the recipe.
I’m so glad to hear the birds are enjoying the feeder and the bark butter. Once the birds discover it, it can disappear fast!
This is great! Someone not far away has had success with this. Thanks for the recipe!
The birds seems to like it in my neck of the woods too!
Any suggestions for hot/spicy bark butter. I don’t want ants or squirrels. I buy it at Wild birds unlimited but it is pricy. Cayenne pepper?
Yes, you can try adding some dried red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper hot sauce to this mixture
Thank you for caring about our feathered friends! You can also apply peanut butter to this feeder – the birds love it. And, as you mention, you can just smear it on the tree bark as well; they will find it. If you are going to feed peanut butter to the birds, it is recommended that you have a specific jar dedicated to the birds, separate from the peanut butter you eat yourself. This helps avoid cross contamination. Alternatively, you can put peanut butter in a dish from your personal jar, THEN take it outside. I have found it’s easier to get a giant jar of the store brand peanut butter and reserve it for outdoor use.
Thanks for the bird feeding tips Judith!
I melt chunky peanut butter in with the lard. Combines so much easier with other ingredients. My husband also makes holes completely through log. It holes more and once birds find it get empty fast.
Yes, now that I’ve had my log feeder out for a few days and the birds have found it, the suet in the holes is disappearing faster than I thought it would!