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. Love the feeder–I’ve never seen one like it.
    My gardens attract a lot of insects, but not many birds. I put up a feeder, but I think I need more trees to attract birds.

  3. 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!

  4. What a lovely bird with fine colours. I can see that it is native to North America. We will also start feeding the birds soon. They are always entertaining to watch.

  5. I just put out my bird feeders yesterday. Haven’t seen the Bluejays yet. I usually hear them before I see them, though. They sure love to aggravate my cats!

  6. I like the Jays even though they have bravado at the feeders. That is a nice feeder BTW. I don’t mind the grackles either, they are not as mean as they look in my garden.

  7. 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!

    • We do have plenty of squirrels, but we hang the feeders on a pole equipped with a squirrel baffle that actually works. The bluejay perches on the top of the baffle in a couple of pictures.

  8. You stole my post! I find that most birds prefer black oil sunflower seeds, so that helps keep the peanut feeders from emptying too fast. I like jays – think of them as the Big Boys. I’m glad they are making a comeback.

  9. Plenty of blue jays here, and more gray jays (whiskey jacks – I believe they used to be called Canada jays) than you could imagine, especially out in the mountains. I love watching them – they’re so cheeky and playful. The gray jays will eat right out of your hand if you let them.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. It’s so nice of you to feed blue jays. Most people do consider them pests. I however, think a bird is a bird, and being a pretty shade of blue doesn’t hurt either. I say, on with the blue jays!

    • I’m not as open minded as you are when it comes to birds, but I do enjoy the bluejays. Other than the noise, I’m not aware of any damage they do. If they came in flocks I might feel different.

  13. What a beautiful bird….despite that racket they make!!! I’d love to have a few here….sighs….anyway, I can enjoy yours now.xxxx

    • From your blog it seems you definitely have quite a variety of wildlife where you live, including birds.

  14. 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.

  15. Are the squirrels in your area lazy or just well fed? I’m surprised that they’re not on those peanuts.
    I have bluejays nesting in a big arbor vitae. We don’t really see much of each other-just an occasional glimpse coming and going.

  16. 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.

    • Thanks. We are lucky to have a lot of old trees in our neighborhood, mostly cottonwoods, maples, and Siberian Elms.

  17. 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??

    • I love woodpeckers. They don’t really munch on the wood, they drill holes in the wood to find insects. And they will drill holes in pretty much any kind of wood, including our deck railing.

  18. A very beautiful bird indeed but it may be related to the jay we have here and they eat bird eggs and most of our fruit in the orchard, so although they’re pretty I’m a little reserved. 😉

    • It’s a symbiotic relationship we have with birds in winter: we give them food, they keep us from going insane.

  19. No bluejays here as far as I know, I also have no idea what a ‘Grackle’ is!? We do have woodpeckers; this year there is a crazy one who is making large holes in the house walls – he is not welcome!

  20. We have more Steller’s jays here but blue jays are expanding their territory so we see a couple every now and again. Same call for both kinds of jays. Love them even though they’re loud and rude.

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