The weather has been that perfect mix of Fall here in Kansas- cool nights, warm days, dense rich color. Combined with a slight Kansas breeze we have watched the vibrant hued leaves drift down slowly, expansively- carpeting walkways, lawn and pond’s edge. These are halcyon days for the song birds frequenting the feeders and with the mostly leafless branches these little birds are on full display.
It is also a opportune time for Dan and I to assess our feeding set-ups and change things up a bit for the birds. We have our constant “Squirrel Buster” hanging feeder (best squirrel denier ever!!). A flat feeder made by a friend and much loved by the usual ground feeders. The flat feeder though is almost worn out from the occasional freeloading raccoon and possum scaling it for a midnight sunflower seed snack. We also put out a carefully monitored suet feeder (raccoon again) and lastly a specific squirrel corn feeder…don’t ask…
What would be a change up for this year? Thanks to the current Birds and Blooms magazine article on attracting fall birds we decided to try Peanuts. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Except I have always thought raw peanuts in the shell would guarantee big birds arriving and shooing little birds off the feeding areas and what tiny bird could fly away with a shelled peanut- let alone get it in its bill. I was wrong.
We don’t even have a peanut feeder (yet), we just set an array of peanuts out on our deck’s small bistro table and watch the antics and ingenuity of particularly the Blue Jay and one of my all time favorite birds- the gregarious Tufted Titmouse. Now the Blue Jay noisily announces its arrival and with its considerable bill it can hoist a peanut shell up and disappear in a flash. The “Peter, Peter, Peter” call of the Tufted is silenced as it approaches the deck. Instead the Tufted Titmouse uses stealth and strategy to pick up the peanut. I watched as one opened wide, pushed and maneuvered a peanut in its bill. Another poked a hole in the flimsy shell and with a skewered peanut almost obstructing its view, it hovered like a small helicopter gaining momentum and then off flew.
Were these birds possibly hiding some of the peanuts as they would disappear and return momentarily ready for another? Dan began to find peanuts hidden in some prairie grass plantings around the deck and garage… I watched as the Blue Jay would pick up any peanut shell dropped in flight by the smaller birds… would these birds even remember where their tasty treasure was hidden?
All I know is they or some other little creature will enjoy finding these peanuts on a cold day under cover of dead leaves, maybe snow or feasting now as they bulk up for Winter weather. Why we could have a small peanut crop next summer…who knows… So grab yourself a handful of Planters and a fistful of unsalted raw in the shell peanuts for some of your bird friends. Just some Fall fun at Green Heron Pond!