Peanuts are a high energy bird food. They have a lot of fat that provides birds with much-needed calories, especially during cold winters when natural foods are scarce. Calories are units of energy birds get by consuming food. Peanuts will attract: chickadees, woodpeckers, jays, crows, ravens, and nuthatches, among others, to backyard bird feeders.
Birds can be supplied peanuts in at least four different forms depending upon the species of birds that you want to attract. Woodpeckers, crows, ravens, and jays like shelled peanuts. Birds of all sizes, but especially chickadees and nuthatches, enjoy easier-to-eat peanut chunks and chips that can also be blended into a homemade bird suet recipe or purchased in suet cakes at stores. Straight peanut butter can be smeared on pine cones, tree bark, or in large holes drilled into dead trees or blocks of wood and hung from tree branches or shepherd’s hooks, or sometimes dabs of it can be added to platform feeder trays.
Using specialized feeders made just for peanuts can make it easier and more fun to offer peanut treats at your backyard feeder. Large mesh feeders that hold peanuts in the shell are fun to offer because birds must work at getting peanuts out of the shell. Peanut chips can be offered in smaller mesh feeders or in hopper feeders for smaller birds and all types of peanuts can be offered on platform feeders.
Not all types of peanuts are good for birds. Salted, seasoned, flavored, smoked, or candy-covered peanuts should be avoided as they are unhealthy for birds. Even healthy peanuts for birds can turn rancid in warm weather, so we prefer using them during winter, especially after bears are in hibernation as they love peanuts too. Squirrels also like peanuts, so use squirrel proof or resistant feeders, unless you like to watch squirrels too. I have learned over the years that there is almost no way one can ever outwit bird feeder squirrels!
There are over 20 different kinds of seeds available for bird feeding. You should include at least five or more of them in your feeding stations to attract a wide variety of different birds. I highly recommend using peanuts as one of them along with black oil sunflower seeds, the undisputed champion for attracting birds at backyard bird feeders. Enjoy watching the birds!