L to R: Opie, the juvenile waiting on food from Papa Peanut!
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
Article by Norma Beaird
Recipe by Curtis Beaird
It's that time of year when the birds are feeding and raising their young. Many times, they will come to a bird feeder to get food for the little ones! One food in particular that they have enjoyed feeding to the young is Peanut Butter Tree Spread.
For a while, we were able to purchase a brand of Bark Butter from the local Tractor Supply store. When the bark butter went on sale, we bought several jars; however, it seems that it has been discontinued from our local store.
Online, we had noticed that some brands of Bark Butter can be rather expensive; therefore, Curtis attempted to mimic the recipe with his own spin on it. According to Cornell Labs, peanut butter is safe to feed in cooler temperatures; however, they recommend not feeding it during warmer weather if it's kept outside for a long time.
We still feed the Peanut Butter Tree Spread to our birds even though it's summer. The reason? We've been feeding them regularly for quite a while, so when we spread the mixture on the tree, they show up almost instantly and wipe it out very quickly!
Here is a list of the birds who love the Peanut Butter Tree Spread:
Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Common Grackle, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
Birds love this stuff. It's like a dessert for them. So, I won't keep you waiting any longer, here's the fabulous recipe. Get ready for a fun mess!
Peanut Butter Tree Spread Recipe
***Large mixing bowl
***Cutting board and chef's knife for the raisins
***Creamy peanut butter (the less sodium, the better)
***C & S Seed Suet Dough (other brands are fine). Do NOT use a beef-fat suet. The suet that you need is a crumbling, non-greasy suet, almost cake-like.
***Plain corn meal (NOT self-rising)
In large mixing bowl:
1. Scoop 2-3 heaping tablespoons of creamy peanut butter in bottom of the bowl.
2. On a cutting board, place about 1/4 cup of raisins. Sprinkle water on them from the facet and wet the blade of your knife. This will minimize, not eliminate, the raisins from sticking to the blade when you cut them up. The sharper the blade, the easier the chop.
3. Fine chop the raisins and sprinkle them on top of the peanut butter. (Again, the raisins are optional. The birds will eat it just as quickly without the raisins.)
4. Take 1 package of Seed Suet Dough (we use C & S), and crumble it as fine as possible. Add the crumbled-up seed suet dough to the peanut butter. Make sure there are no large pieces.
5. Use hands to mix, blend, and work the mixture into what will look and smell like a fantastic batch of cookies.
6. Sprinkle plain corn meal (NOT self-rising) as needed to stiffen the mixture. You are looking for a texture that will be moist enough to hold together, but no longer be sticky.
7. These quantities will fill, with a little pushing and packing, a peanut butter jar (small to medium). Keep inside in a cool, dry place. Some people recommend placing the mixture in the refrigerator.
8. We use a small flat wooden spatula to apply the mixture to the tree. It works well in the natural indentions associated with trees.
The Peanut Butter Tree Spread draw ants and is a bonus for the woodpeckers. We have been amazed as we watched the Red-Belled Woodpecker and the Downy Woodpecker feed this mixture to their fledglings.
Copyright 2014, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.