About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Source of peanuts for the birds

Hello! I'm so grateful to have found your site that helps me understand what to give the outside birds we so love to have in the garden. Thank you! You mentioned peanuts as being desirable & I would like your input on a source for them for the birds. I have some in shells which the blue jays love but for the smaller birds? We are on the west coast and would like to attract the smaller birds. I did not know they also love the sunflower seeds! I've got some bird seed that has millet but a lot of cracked corn (okay for the birds? I thought it was mostly for chickens & ducks) and sunflower seeds. I'd be glad to buy bird food if it's not the cheap junk most local stores sell. Any advice is most wanted! Thank you.

There are almost 300 Wild Birds Unlimited stores in the US and Canada. To locate your nearest store go to: https://maps.wbu.com/

Each store is individually owned. They have a lot of the same feeders and pole systems but we vary in certain local items and seed blends that we offer.

The franchise also runs an online website which can deliver seed at: http://shop.wbu.com/

There are several types of peanuts. Each of the peanut types is distinctive in size, flavor, and nutritional composition. The birds will appreciate any raw unsalted peanut in or out of the shell as long as it’s still fresh and full of oil.

Birds look for the very best food. Fresh and heavy seeds full of oil are chosen over the dried up older seeds. Blue Jays and other birds will shuffle through the seeds until they find what they are looking for. They'll pick a seed up in their bill to test the weight. If it's not heavy enough they'll pick up another to compare the weight of of the seeds. It's not worth their while to eat or cache seeds that are dried out or bad.

Also, certain seeds are preferred over others. Nuts and sunflower seeds are chosen most often by backyard birds for their high calorie/ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content. The National Wildlife Federation did a 2005–2008 study on which foods attract the most birds and keep them the healthiest. Fresh sunflower seed, peanuts, white proso millet, safflower, Nyjer thistle seed and high quality suets are some of the best choices.

Cracked corn doesn't have as high an oil content as sunflower seed or peanuts. This makes it a less preferred food during stressful times like nesting or bad weather. Generally it is kick to the ground where it attracts different types of backyard wildlife, including deer, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. I hope this helps.
Thank you so much for this information! Most helpful and lots to look in to. I do appreciate it, and you explained the blue jay behavior when I have a scatter of peanuts out for them, taking one, then another, deciding after a while on a certain one. Thank you, your information is very helpful.