Peanut Butter for Birds


Peanut butter is the ideal food for a wide variety of winter birds. High in fat and calories to help birds keep warm even during the coldest days, this sticky treat is a favorite of chickadees, woodpeckers, wrens, titmice, nuthatches and jays, but how can you offer peanut butter at your feeders without causing damage or attracting pests?


Making Peanut Butter Less Messy

The sticky, oily nature of peanut butter can make it messy to handle, and it can easily stain a wooden feeder or deck. Mix peanut butter with flour, cornmeal, or birdseed to absorb some of the oil so it stains less, and the birds will appreciate the extra bulk and nutrition of the additions. Offer peanut butter in a sheltered, shaded location so it will not melt as easily, and do not offer it on hot days to minimize the risk of it going rancid.


Feeders for Peanut Butter

Basic bird feeders are not designed for peanut butter, but a glass or coated ceramic dish can easily hold this treat without stains or mess. Recycled plastic feeders are another good choice, or something as simple as a small ceramic bowl or baby food jar can be used as a makeshift feeder. Peanut butter can be smeared on bread, bagels, or even a slab of scrap wood for a quick feeder, and coating a pine cone with peanut butter is an easy feeder project winter birds will love.


More Tips for Offering Peanut Butter to Birds

When you offer peanut butter as a delicious treat for backyard birds, don't forget…


  • Water: While peanut butter is not sticky enough to cause a problem for birds' beaks, having a bird bath nearby with fresh, clean water is a good precaution for birds that may not be accustomed to the treat. The water will also help attract even more birds that will be able to visit the feeders as well.
  • Baffles: Peanut butter is just as irresistible to squirrels, mice, and other pests as it is to birds. Use a secure baffle to protect the feeders from damage, and keep the pests away so birds are able to enjoy their food without danger.
  • Peanut Flavors: If you're not sure about offering peanut butter to birds, opt for peanut-flavored suet or whole peanuts instead. The birds will still get the flavor and nutrition of the peanut butter, but in a more familiar or easier to feed way.


Peanut butter is a great winter food for birds, and by understanding how best to offer the food to backyard birds, it is possible to allow them to enjoy this nutritious treat without problems.


- Article courtesy of Melissa Mayntz


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