Friday, April 17, 2009

All for the Love of Peanuts

I was out with friends for dinner last evening and we were discussing our favourite foods. (what better topic of conversation!) All five women agreed that peanut butter was the basis of the best sandwiches. Some preferred it with jam, others with cheese, honey or banana. I remember reading about George Washington Carver as a child. He was truly an innovator in sustainable farming in America and was my hero because he "invented" peanut butter. What greater contribution could someone make to mankind?!

Peanuts are favoured by my backyard visitors too. If I put a mixture of peanuts and sunflower seeds out on a tray, the peanuts are the first to go. Even a little chickadee will struggle to fly away with an entire seed. I put a few peanuts in the shell on the deck while eating breakfast this week. It was interesting to see who got first dibs on them.

Our resident red squirrel, Buttons, came first and swished his tail territorially, intimidating the three Blue Jays lined up in the lilac bush. Buttons has a Buttonette now, and very occasionally I see them both together. The Blue Jays came next, but only one at at time. They had determined their own seniority and kept a respectful distance from each other.

A Junco was the next to arrive. In the winter I noticed these birds were crazy about peanut butter. This one was looking for little scraps of peanut that may have fallen from the squirrel and jays. I watched a male Goldfinch approach from the shrubs. He came behind the Junco most aggressively and scared it off.

His breeding plumage is almost completely in, but he is still a little scruffy. He pecked around for scraps of peanut too and then settled for the seeds.

I put very little food out for the birds now. The larger squirrels are too plentiful and greedy and make every effort to destroy my feeders. Early each morning I put out a handful of seeds for the
the red squirrel, chipmunk, cardinals, jays, chickadees and finches and watch them get a good start on their day. There is plenty of food around naturally for them now that the snow is gone. But I will keep a supply of peanuts around throughout the warm months as a special treat for my feathered and furry friends.


  1. That's a fine morning ritual. Keep on enjoying.

  2. Great pics! Our Goldfinches are in the same plumage stage. I love watching the change. I prefer peanut butter scooped directly from the jar with a Hershey's chocolate bar, tee hee.

    I also have a red squirrel, that I am trying hard to embrace as a friend, not a pesky little guy that empties my feeders twice a week, LOL.

  3. Great news that Buttons survived the cold winter and lucky him has found himself a girlfriend.

    I walk the dog through this little trail every morning. One of the residents puts out peanuts for the takers. This morning his feeder was very busy. I counted 8 blue jays and 3 squirrels dining at this feeder. I'm sure that there are some chipmunks there too. They live under his back deck. It's really fun to watch then snatch up the food, like it was their last meal.

    Cute to see the Goldfinch and Junco wanting to see what all the fuse is about with peanuts. I have to agree that there is nothing like a good peanut butter sandwich to hit the spot. I may just have to pack one in my lunch today.

  4. While our squirrels are gray--not red, thus not as cute as yours--I too keep peanuts around for them. We have one or two squirrels who KNOW this. They come up on the porch by the side of our house and look in the window. Hey, lady, peanuts, here, now!
    And don't even get me started on peanut butter. I am always glad when we have no sandwich filling in the house, because--we ALWAYS have peanut butter. Like I need an excuse!

  5. What a spunky little Goldfinch! Great shots!

    I am a recovering peanut butter-holic. Unlike Donna, I don't even dare keep any in my house.

  6. I like the little defensive posture by the Goldfinch.We find too that the Bluejays quickly find the peanuts.

  7. I think of Carver and his amazing number of uses for peanuts (if memory serves, it was over 200!)every time I think of tobacco. Surely we could find some other use for this crop that would support farmers and their fmailies other than poisoning ourselves. Anyway - wonderful photos!! Love that sassy little goldfinch!

  8. I'm not sure my kids would have survived without peanut butter. Blessings on George Washington Carver. Had no idea birds went for shelled peanuts in such a big way. I'll have to put some out and see who comes to get the treat.

  9. Hi Ruth.....I did not realise that you had red squirrels. I was really surprised to see that photograph.
    Ours are in decline due to the non native grey squirrel......we only have pockets of red in the North, Scotland and the Isle of Wight....

    Lovely bird shots......glad you are now on the way to spring temperatures......

  10. Those peanuts almost turned into a disagreement with that Goldfinch. Who'd a thought they'd be so agressive.

    I like peanut butter with cactus jelly.

  11. I also just put out handfulls of seeds or nuts, otherwise the squirrels pig out. And destroy the feeders as you mentioned.

    Your photos are beautiful. I don't know how you do it.

    Funny how peanut butter is still a favourite - even after we've all grown up! I thought I'd hate peanutbutter as an adult, since I ate so much of it as a kid. But I still enjoy it.

  12. I don't have nearly as many goldfinch as I do pine siskins these days. And the goldfinches are almost fully molted now. I love that canary yellow. :c)

    My mom used to make me peanut butter and honey sandwiches on toasted bread when I was little, and I loved them.

  13. I've had to stop putting out peanuts, as the grackles devour them. I did see a starling carrying around a peanut shell today. Nesting material maybe?

  14. Thanks for all the interesting comments.

  15. You are definitely well into spring, looking at that Goldfinch. You are right - the peanuts win. More birds are drawn to the peanuts than anything else here.


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