Working for peanuts

Photo by Chris Bosak A downy woodpecker eats peanuts from a feeder in Danbury, CT, March 2019.

Here’s a downy woodpecker getting peanuts from the homemade feeder I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

It’s funny how birds prefer their food offered in different ways. White-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers are all over this feeder. They typically perch on the feeder and peck away at the shell to expose the nut inside. My other peanut eaters — blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers and tufted titmice — barely touch this feeder and prefer to grab their peanuts from a platform feeder and fly off with it.

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Titmouse grabs a peanut

Photo by Chris Bosak A Tufted Titmouse tries to figure out how to pick up a peanut off a deck railing in Danbury, Conn., in the fall of 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Tufted Titmouse tries to figure out how to pick up a peanut off a deck railing in Danbury, Conn., in the fall of 2016.

I am entertained by birds doing just about anything, but one of my favorite sights in the backyard is watching birds grab peanuts and fly off to store or eat them. I put a handful or two of peanuts on a platform feeder or on the deck railing itself and wait for the birds to discover them.

If the Blue Jays arrive first, forget it, the peanuts will be gone in a matter of minutes. Same goes for the Red-bellied Woodpecker. One or two of them empty the feeder in minutes, too.

I like when smaller birds, such as the Tufted Titmouse above, go after the peanuts. Their bills aren’t large enough to simply fly in, grab the nut and take off. They need to pick the right peanut and position it just right to grab it.

If you’ve never tried offering peanuts in the shell to birds, give it a shot. It has great entertainment value.