Host a Peanut Party
Attract more birds when you put out this snack they love.
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.