Will Work for Peanuts

This time of year I start putting peanuts out for the birds, both shelled and in the shell. Peanuts attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, and Bluejays. The Bluejays are the only ones that actually prefer peanuts in the shell.

Bluejay
Must be a way to get at those peanuts …

Peanuts also attract grackles, starlings, and house sparrows.  These birds gorge so ferociously that the feeders seem to be empty  within minutes, though the peanuts in the shell last a bit longer.  So I do not put out peanuts until some time in October, after the grackles are gone and the starlings are busy inhaling every kind of fruit they can find. The house sparrows we shall always have with us.

It's really hard to keep your balance while yanking out a peanut.
It’s really hard to keep your balance and pull at the same time.

We spent some time today being entertained by the bluejays as they wrestled peanuts in the shell out of the feeder, which was pretty much emptied out during the course of the day.

Almost got it ...
Almost got it …

They weren’t actually eating all those peanuts. Most they took for their secret peanut stash, to be consumed during  the hungry days of winter. This explains why they like peanuts in the shell.

bluejay
Mine, all mine!

For a long time we almost never saw Bluejays. I believe they were decimated in this area due to West Nile virus. But once I started putting out peanuts this month, a pair of Bluejays have been making themselves very much at home in the back garden.

bluejay
What are you looking at? Get your own damn peanut!

I like Bluejays. I like their color. If they were a dull brown would I still like them? Probably not. Bluejays are closely related to Grackles, and I consider those birds to be pests.

Bluejays are greedy and have terrible table manners. They also have a loud, raucous cry that some people find unpleasant, especially early in the morning.  Here’s a little sample from Youtube. For the sake of authenticity, turn your volume all the way up. Also please excuse any ads that appear, that would be from Youtube, not me.

Despite all this, I am always happy when I see these big blue birds. Like the Cardinals, they keep us company for the winter.

Do you have Bluejays where you live? Are you happy or dismayed to have them around?

50 Comments on “Will Work for Peanuts”

  1. Ah, I miss the colorful blue jays from the eastern side of North America. We don’t have blue jays here in the PNW. We have Steller’s jays instead, which are solid blue with a black head — a little bit bigger with a similar personality.

  2. No bluejays here I’m afraid. Some noisy crows that caw every morning while I’m having my coffee, then blue tits, great tits and blackbirds are the most common at the moment. The blackbirds are slowly but surely stripping our large yew tree of its berries! I think the bluejays are very attractive birds. We get Eurasian jays – cousins I assume – in the summer months mostly. They are also very loud!

  3. Love those feeders! Clever and aesthetically pleasing.
    Now, how is it that you have not mentioned squirrels?? Are you fortunate enough not to have any of those little blighters around? If I put out a feeder of peanuts like that (shelled or unshelled), they’d be gone in a heartbeat because the squirrels would have grabbed them all, darnit!
    I hear bluejays occasionally, but have none that frequent my little quarter acre. While they are indeed raucous, I love watching them – I prefer to think of them as ‘saucy’! Enjoy them!

  4. Your post serves as a good reminder that I need to refill my own feeders as they’re close to empty at the moment. We get scrub jays – also blue and also possessing terrible table manners and raucous cries. There’s one bouncing around on an empty feeder I can see from my window right now, in fact.

  5. We don’t have many blue jays coming to our feeder. When I was a child I loved them because it seemed so rare to have “blue” birds–my grandmother was constantly trying to set me straight that they were undesirable to have around her garden.

  6. Love the jays! They call ME in the morning if I fail to get the peanuts out early enough. The jays and the magpies are the main contenders for the peanuts and between them the squirrels don’t have much of a chance, though they are quick about it. I do admire the Stellar’s Jays too, but they are higher up in the mountains. A mile high isn’t high enough for them ! Great photos.

  7. I used to feed Blue Jays at my apartment in Oak Park but they can’t compete where I live now with the neighborhood squirrels. At least I have not seen them much at all. We also lost a lot of big trees the last couple years so in general there are not as many jays in the neighborhood. I miss them, they’re smart and entertaining. And yes, they are Loud. i love the photos and the feeder.

  8. I used to see blue jays alot many years ago but not so much so these days. I did love to see them. I didn’t know they liked peanuts. I will have to leave some out. I would LOVE to see a cardinal but I have never seen one in these parts. I’m just curious though, are you okay with the woodpeckers in the yard? And what woods do they munch on anyways??

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