A few months ago I was listening to my favorite bird feeding podcast, the Wild Bird’s Unlimited Nature Centered Show, when the hosts started talking about Bark Butter. They were raving about the ease of using this product and the fact that it appealed to a wide variety of birds.
Naturally, I got excited about giving the product a try. I went to a local Wild Birds Unlimited store the next day and picked up a tub to experiment with at my feeders.
Bark Butter is a spreadable suet product that can go on feeders, or straight onto tree bark. It’s made from suet, peanut butter and corn with added calcium. The story behind Bark Butter is that it was created by Wild Birds Unlimited Founder Jim Carpenter as a way to draw in Brown Creepers. He quickly realized that not only did it draw in the Creepers, but it was also popular with a ton of other birds. Wild Bird’s Unlimited touts that it has since attracted 152 bird species. Impressive!
The complete listing of ingredients of Bark Butter are roasted peanuts, corn, rendered beef suet and calcium carbonate. It’s only sold at Wild Birds Unlimited stores.
Wild Birds Unlimited also sells specialized Bark Butter products with bugs, Bark Butter Bits and Suet Cylinders. For this article, I’ll be focusing solely on the classic Bark Butter product.
The Good with Bark Butter:
Bark Butter is incredibly easy to start using. Just open it up, grab a spoon or fork, and spread it on a feeder or straight to a tree.
Bark Butter quickly became a hit with the Downy Woodpeckers that visit my feeding station every day. The Chickadees and Nuthatches also quickly discovered it. My biggest surprise was spotting a male Northern Cardinal munching on it one day. I had never seen a Cardinal eat suet at my feeding station before Bark Butter! That was neat.
I love that Bark Butter is fortified with calcium, a mineral that’s important for birds during nesting season.
So, I’ve had a good experience with Bark Butter on my feeders so far. I haven’t tried it on tree bark (I can’t as I live in an apartment complex), but imagine that would be even better. It seemed marginally more popular than the typical peanut suet I put out in my feeding station.
The Bad with Bark Butter:
This is an expensive suet product. The 34-ounce container I purchased was $16.99 in Minnesota. Bark Butter was also really popular with the squirrels in my neck of the woods. However, Wild Bird’s Unlimited also sells a spicy version of Bark Butter that squirrels will avoid. It’s more expensive, but I’d recommend it if you have persistent critters in your yard. You’ll save money by having the squirrels avoid it!
The Final Rating: 7/10 (Good)
I enjoyed Bark Butter and it was a hit for my typical suet-eating birds. It didn’t bring in any new birds to my feeders, but was one of the most popular items for my regulars.
The cost of this product is what keeps me from giving it a higher score. I’d recommend every bird feeder gives Bark Butter a try at least once, but regular suet cakes are so much more affordable and work just as well. A suet cake typically runs me $1 to $4 and will be just as popular.
I’ll be excited to try the other Bark Butter products from Wild Birds Unlimited in the future, especially the Bugs and Bits, in an attempt to drive new birds to my feeders.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Bark Butter that you can buy on Amazon, a product called “Tree Icing” is for sale. I haven’t personally tried this product, but it has good reviews (especially for drawing in Woodpeckers).
Have you tried Bark Butter before? Leave any feedback and comments below.
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Note: I was not paid or endorsed to write this review. These are strictly my views and opinions.