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.