Host a Peanut Party

At­tract more birds when you put out this snack they love.

Birds & Blooms - - Contents - BY SALLY ROTH

Birds go nuts for the fat- and pro­tein-packed treat that is su­per easy for back­yard bird-watch­ers to serve. Peanuts in al­most any form are a life­saver in the depths of win­ter, but they will draw a huge crowd year-round.

“Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the at­trac­tive­ness of peanuts in the shell,” says Scott Ed­wards, guest edi­tor of the Na­tional Bird-feed­ing So­ci­ety. “Blue jays seem to pre­fer them this way, and wood­peck­ers, chick­adees and tit­mice will take them on as well.” Peanuts in the shell tempt car­di­nals, chick­adees, mock­ing­birds and more. Serve them chopped and birds that typ­i­cally eat soft foods, such as tan­agers, wrens, blue­birds and thrash­ers, come to the peanut feast.

Raw or roasted? It’s a com­mon ques­tion, and both are beloved by birds, but “we gen­er­ally rec­om­mend against salted peanuts,” says Holly Faulkner, project as­sis­tant for Project Feed­er­watch at the Cor­nell Lab of Or­nithol­ogy.

Put out the peanut feed­ers, and let the bird cir­cus be­gin!

JAYS. If you’ve ever at­tempted to grab a big hand­ful of potato chips, you’ll laugh when you watch jays try to do the same with peanuts. Dis­card­ing those that don’t fit, they stuff as many as pos­si­ble into their throat pouch and bill. All blue-colored jay species are en­thu­si­as­tic peanut eaters— and stash­ers, caching their trea­sures un­der tree bark, in crevices or be­side rocks to re­trieve later.

WOOD­PECK­ERS. Ev­ery wood­pecker, from the adorable downy to the gi­ant pileated, ea­gerly snatches peanuts to eat on the spot or store for a later day. Whole, chopped or shelled—when it comes to these snacks, they are not picky.

SNACK TIME An ac­ro­batic white-breasted nuthatch clings to a feeder full of peanuts in the shell.

FOOD TO GO This blue jay is likely go­ing to stash its peanut away to eat it later.

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