Peanuts whole in the shell for wild bird seed, squirrel feeding

Whole peanuts in the shell are one of the greatest treats you can offer birds. It's been well publicized that jays and woodpeckers love them, but there are many other species that also enjoy them.

People who feed whole peanuts in the shell to birds often report that after a while of offering them, the jays start calling to each other the moment the peanuts are brought to the feeder. Actually, screaming would be a better description! Once the alert has gone out, the jays literally dive-bomb for their favorite treat, sometimes taking more than one at a time. They then fly to the nearest branch, hammer them open and devour them as quickly as possible so they can return for more.

The best feeder for whole peanuts in the shell is a platform feeder, where all the birds have an opportunity to get to them. If you watch, you'll see that titmice and chickadees will look for the smallest ones so they'll be able to fly away with them, and cardinals patiently wait their turn and quickly fly away with their "prize." Crows, intelligent corvids like the jays, have been observed patiently arranging up to three or four in their beaks, positioning them carefully so they can fit in as many as possible.

Even species that lack the beaks to easily the large shell have been observed soaking them in water (which will explain how the shells get into your birdbaths occasionally) so they can get to the delicious nuts inside.

Most of the whole peanuts in the shell found in the marketplace are salted and should not be fed to the birds. Stock up on the unsalted ones we offer and prepare to be entertained – you won't regret it!

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— written by Carla Davis; The Wild Bird Lady  (c) 2004 - Written permission required for use of images/text on these pages.

Carla Davis is a Habitat Consultant residing on Long Island, New York, where she gives seminars on how to develop Backyard Bird Habitats through bird feeding and native gardening at Garden Centers, Garden Clubs, Nature Centers, Schools, and Audubon Chapters. She has taught portions of the Master Birding Course for Cornell Cooperative Extension, Suffolk County, New York, and her property has been designated as an Official Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.  She is a contributing writer to Birding Business magazine and The Bird's-Eye reView, the newsletter of the former National Bird-Feeding Society, where she served as a member of the Board of Directors.