Butter for the Birds

Feeding the birds is probably not as much for the birds survival as it is for human entertainment. I put a lot of thought and money into placing feeders and certain types of bird food in just the perfect locations to attract the most species. The more the merrier in my backyard. 

I had noticed recently at that really nice wild bird supply store where I enjoy shopping way too much ($$$), a product called bark butter. It’s sort of like a spreadable suet that’s supposed to attract a record number of bird species. The store suggests that you can spread the butter on a tree, but they obviously live in a bird-only bubble without squirrels if they can get away with that. I toyed with the idea of purchasing the small tub of the bark butter and the hanging feeder there, but then I decided to do a little research. 

Google to the rescue! Apparently people have been making bird butter for years and especially as a winter project. You may already have all but one of these ingredients and if you decide you want to try this, let me know. I have a pound tub of the lard, and despite the fact that I’m a southern girl, have no other use for lard and would love to share. If you have children or grandchildren close by, this is the perfect afternoon activity as you can get your hands really messy! 

Bark Butter 

Ingredients (Purchase the least expensive products available)

  • 1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter 
  • 1 Cup Lard
  • 1 Cup Flour 
  • 4 Cup Corn Meal
  • Mixed bird seed – optional 


Add all ingredients in large bowl. Blend together with a spoon or knead it in the bowl with your hands until the dry ingredients are completely blended into a dough. Store in an airtight container. All ingredients are shelf stable. 

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That’s it! Children can spread this into pine cones and hang it with a ribbon in a squirrel-proof area. Since I am not handy, I purchased the Kettle Moraine Peanut Butter Feeder with Perch. Another option would be to make or purchase a suet plug log feeder. My feeder has been up for several weeks and is frequented by Carolina Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and occasionally a Downy Woodpecker.  

Just another way to attract birds and entertain yourself! Enjoy!

Submitted by:  Joleen Ardaiolo



Join SIB to Bird the Crooked Oaks Golf Course on March 18

Birding the Ocean Winds Golf Course – Jackie Brooks
SIB members and family visitors enjoyed learning about the birds that we see and hear on our golf courses – Andy Brown

Each Monday one of the Golf Courses is closed, so join us for a morning of birding by RIDING in golf carts for at least 9-holes on one of the two golf courses. We expect to see a large variety of birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Bald Eagles and other birds of prey. We should also see and hear some of the smaller birds like Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals and some of the many warbler species.

Monday, March 18, 2019 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Meet at Island House (Golf Course Parking Lot next to Spinnaker Beach Houses) for ride along the golf course in golf carts.
Max: 20
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests

As Learning Together on the Golf Course always, be sure to bring your binoculars, hats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.

If you are not yet a 2019 SIB member, you must first become a member for only $10 by following the instructions on our website: https://seabrookislandbirders.org/contact/join-sib/. Or you may pay the Guest Fee of $5.

Please complete the registration no later than Friday March 15, 2019. All registrants will receive a confirmation letter on Saturday March 16th.

Prothonotary Warbler & Project PROTHO – SIB’s Evening Program on March 27, 2019

PowerPoint Presentation

Matt Johnson is the Director of Bird Conservation & Engagement for Audubon South Carolina. A native of South Carolina, Matt grew up in Columbia and attended Clemson University from 2003-2009. After receiving his graduate degree in Biological Sciences, Matt worked as a producer for the Emmy award-winning nature documentary entitled “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” In 2013, Matt left Clemson to begin working with Audubon as the Education Director at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. In 2017, he transitioned to his current position, where he works on a variety of engagement projects across the state to promote bird conservation.

SIB will provide beverages including wine and coffee.  We ask everyone to RSVP no later than March 25, 2019 so we will know how much wine to purchase and how many chairs to set up.

For only $10, you may join or renew your 2019 SIB membership the night of the event.

Don’t miss this chance to have another fun filled evening with our flock of Seabrook Island Birders!

Learn how to join SIB 

Contact us if you have questions:   SeabrookIslandBirders@gmail.com

Join SIB to Bird & Bike the Greenway!

SIB will be hosting another Birding Beyond our Backyard with a bike ride to bird the West Ashley Greenway on Saturday March 16th.  We will meet at 7:30 am at the parking lot just off Main Road to bike the 8 mile path through marsh, woodlands and meadows.  We plan to finish by noon so that those of us who want to attend the annual Chile Cook-off at the Bohicket Marina can make it back in time.

To learn more and sign up, click here.

Birding Podcasts

Podcasts are great entertainment while you are driving, exercising, or doing chores inside or outside your home.  They are easily downloaded to your smartphone or tablet and cover every topic from current events to children’s stories. I, personally, have about twelve podcasts that I subscribe to, and of course several involve nature and birding. Listed below are my favorites.  As an amateur birdwatcher, I enjoy interesting and fun facts and amusing anecdotes. If you are looking for something more in depth or are an ornithologist🦉, you probably want to look for different podcasts. 

Out There With The Birds is a podcast with three contributors from Birdwatchers Digest. This is a light-hearted podcast where bird enthusiasts discuss the latest news and trends related to bird watching and, interestingly, throw in music recommendations. Bill Thomas,III, Ben Lizdas, and  Alvaro Jaramillo personally travel the U.S.A. and outside the country in search of birds to add to their extensive bird lists, but this is a podcast that the average backyard birder can enjoy.  Perhaps listening will even inspire you to go outside of your comfort zone. 

Bird Notes is a very short podcast from WRHO Public Radio that always begins with a bird song. Podcaster, Dwight Davis, has a melodic public radio type voice. In three to five minutes he will touch on a single aspect involving wild birds and leave you feeling like you have just finished story time. Anyone with with even the slightest interest in birds should give this podcast a try.

BirdNote  The similar name to the prior podcast makes this slightly confusing, but you can’t go wrong with either podcast.  This is a daily one to two minute podcast that also airs on public radio. If you subscribe to the podcast, BirdNote will greet you each morning when you wake up with a new episode. These short stories are written by birders and told by various storytellers who bring the stories to life along with the rich sounds of recorded bird songs from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the acclaimed theme music. This is a wonderful way to start your day.

Talkin’ Birds, featuring Ray Brown, is actually an interactive weekly radio show that started broadcasting from WATD, a local radio station in Massachusetts 716 episodes ago and is now carried by many other stations. The radio broadcast is later offered as a podcast. This folksy show has features like “Birds in the News”, “Bird Word of the Week” or, my personal favorite, the “Mystery Bird Contest.” Segments are separated by quirky short musical interludes that add to the fun. The show also spotlights the “Conservation Salute of the Week” and is often promoting environmental protection initiatives. 

Nature Guys is a weekly podcast not strictly about wild birds. As the title suggests, these two “Guys” talk about nature in general, but many of the episodes are about birds. Bill, retired after 40 years as Chief Naturalist from the Cincinnati Nature Center, and Bob, who volunteered at the same center, pair up weekly broadcasting from one of their homes (complete with backyard nature sounds in the background) to discuss a bird, a bug, a plant, an animal, or even a snowflake.  Bill obviously researches the topics to challenge Bob’s knowledge  with new facts that he’s found, but Bob rarely can be stumped.  The charm is that the broadcast sounds like off-the-cuff banter between friends. Truth be told, my birding companions often have to endure me rehashing one of Nature Guys’ recent episodes.

These podcasts have been airing for quite a while, but all the past episodes are available to listen to or download.

The links in this blog are for the podcasts’ web pages where you can download and listen to any of the most recent or past shows, but you can also go directly to your podcast app, Apple iTunes or Google Play, to subscribe. 

-submitted by Joleen Ardaiolo

“The Basics of Bird Photography” with Kenny McKeithan

The Seabrook Island Photography Club has invited any and all SIB members to join them at their first meeting of 2019 on Thursday March 21. We expect to have a joint outing sometime later where participants can practice what they learn. We hope to see you there!

Seabrook Island Photography Club
Meeting Announcement
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Speaker: Kenny Mckeithan from The Charleston Center for Photography
Location: Seabrook Island Lake House
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Program Begins at 7:00 p.m.
Open to all Seabrook Island residents and guests.

This meeting program, entitled “The Basics of Bird Photography” will cover most aspects of photographing birds from getting the correct exposure to proper composition, best equipment to use, and special techniques. Photographing stationary birds and birds in flight will be discussed.

Our Speaker will be Kenny McKeithan. Kenny’s interest in photography began when his parents bought him his first box camera while he was still a child. He taught himself photography in those early years, and when he was old enough, began working in local camera shops, learning all he could about the many different aspects of photography. After more than 20 years of experience, he possesses a wealth of knowledge that he is happy to share. Kenny is an award- winning photographer whose portfolio includes fashion and glamour images, portraits, and aviation images. His favorite work is wildlife and nature photography. Kenny is a member of the Carolina Nature Photographer’s Association, owner and operator of The Charleston Center for Photography, offering formal classes, tutoring, and outdoor shooting workshops throughout the southeast.

Join SIB for “Winged Migration”

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 11.17.33 PM
Tuesday March 12, 2019 4:15 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Oyster Catcher Community Center
Max: 25
Cost: None for members; $5 donation for guests
For SIB’s second movie matinee, we will be presenting Winged Migration, the 2001 documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

As described on Amazon: “Rolling Stone raved that Winged Migration, the critically acclaimed, awe-inspiring documentary, is A movie miracle! It soars! You feel privileged! Witness as five film crews follow a rich variety of bird migrations through 40 countries and each of the seven continents. With teams totaling more than 450 people, 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers used planes, gliders, helicopters and balloons to fly alongside, above, below and in front of their subjects. The result is a film of staggering beauty that Entertainment Weekly hailed as Mesmerizing! and the Los Angeles Times applauded as Breathtaking! As lofty as it is exhilarating! Open your eyes to the wonders of the natural world as you fly along with the world’s most gorgeous birds through areas.”

Watch the Winged Migration trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc_qpk2d-ao

SIB will provide the popcorn and snacks! You can bring pillows to make the chairs more comfy and BYOB. Please sign up to join us for this fun afternoon where you will be amazed by the beauty and wonder of birds!