What Birds Eat Peanuts? (Cardinals, Blue Jays, And More…)

Do you like peanuts or do you not? Well, regardless of your choice, one thing is certain: birds truly enjoy feasting on them.

Bird lovers also enjoy offering peanuts to these feathery creatures and consider this one of their favorite pastimes!

Many birds all over the world love peanuts! The birds you would see the most eating peanuts include small and large species, such as jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, cardinals, and many more.

Indeed peanuts are healthy for the birds, but why? What other birds except for the ones named above eat peanuts? Stay tuned as we answer these questions in this article and explore other interesting facts regarding the affinity towards peanuts in birds.

Why are peanuts great for backyard birds?

Have you ever seen a bird feeder hanging in the background of houses? Chances are you probably did.

Bird feeding is a popular recreational activity for people all around the world. Many birds, as they travel, often stop by to eat from these feeders. To fill these backyard feeders, peanuts are a great option.

What Birds Eat Peanuts
Three Birds Are Gathered Around The Bird Feeder, Where There Are Some Peanuts Available.

Peanuts are cheap and easily available, so you can’t possibly go wrong with that one.

Now we can see how it’s convenient for people to choose peanuts over other bird food options. But are peanuts really good for these backyard birds?

Of course, they are! Peanuts do not just offer protein, they are also high in fat. As a result, if you offer your backyard birds a delicious treat of peanuts, you’re also providing them with an energy boost and tons of nutrition with that. These avians can easily be tucked in and stored for another day with what they’ve received, especially during winter.

What kinds of birds eat peanuts?

Now that you know why some birds go crazy over peanuts, aren’t you wondering: What birds eat peanuts?

Well, to answer your question, we’d like to inform you first that very small birds, such as small finches or hummingbirds certainly can not eat peanuts! However, many other species are more than willing to give these nuts a try.

Just a little heads-up: Birds are more likely to eat peanuts if they can easily find them where they live.

Here we’ve listed some common birds that love munching on peanuts:

  • Cardinals
  • Chickadees
  • Blue Jays
  • Woodpeckers
  • Titmouses
  • Doves
  • Grackles
  • Dark-eyed Juncos
  • Ravens
  • Tits
  • Towhees
  • Wrens
  • Songbirds
  • Sparrows

All of these birds will eat peanuts if available. However, there are many species out there outside this list who can try eating peanuts.

So, don’t be surprised if you see bluebirds, catbirds, or robins coming to your backyard feeder to try out peanuts.

Some birds, including mockingbirds, thrashers, and robins often tend to eat smaller pieces of nuts created by the pecking of larger birds. Even some other species, including quails, sparrows, and turkeys can also try nibbling on peanuts if available.

Have you seen the post about Can Birds Eat Quinoa? Check it out!

How to feed peanuts to birds?

For your hungry backyard birds, we have listed a whole array of different ways you can feed peanuts to them:

1. Offer whole peanuts to birds

Feed whole nuts to large birds only, such as jays, crows, grackles, and large woodpeckers. It doesn’t matter whether the shells are present or not. The nuts are going to get eaten anyway.

2. Provide shelled peanuts to birds

For smaller birds, it is best to feed them small, broken pieces such as chips from large nuts. It is better for their small bills. However, it is perfectly normal for some small birds to grab a whole peanut, break it open, and enjoy the delicious nut inside.

3. Providing suet with peanuts to birds

If you’re a fan of peanut butter, why not share a bit with your favorite backyard birds? They will surely enjoy both the crunchy and smooth versions of these nuts.

You can just share them as butter or in the form of suet. Suet is raw, rendered beef fat. It is a great nutritional source for birds as it is jam-packed with fat. Birds get a lot of energy from it.

A lot of bird enthusiasts use suet cakes to feed birds. You can prepare a suet cake using peanuts or peanut butter. Just mix suet and peanut butter, one cup of each, and add half a cup of oatmeal and cornmeal (each) after melting the previous mixture over low heat for a while.

Lastly, add a quarter cup of crunchy items like peanuts, birdseed, or berries. Refrigerate it until ready to use.

That’s it!

You’re now ready to serve a nutritious meal to the birds. You can serve this treat using a suet feeder, a suet cage or simply just smearing it onto a branch or log.

4. Select appropriate peanuts for bird species

Peanuts are a hit with many bird species, offering them a nutritional boost. But remember, before sharing these treats with your backyard birds, make sure you’re serving up the right type of peanuts for their preferences.

Offer small peanut pieces or peanut hearts: Smaller songbirds such as chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice often tend to enjoy smaller peanut pieces or peanut hearts. It’s best to skip the whole peanuts, as those can be a bit of a challenge for them to manage.

Offer whole peanuts: Larger birds like Jays, grackles, and cardinals can effortlessly consume unroasted, unsalted peanuts that are still in their shells, even when they are left whole.

Video By: MyBackyardBirding / YouTube

Consider these points when feeding peanuts to birds

Here are a few points you should remember while feeding peanuts to your feathered friends:

Avoid flavored or coated peanuts: Peanuts that are flavored or coated with salt, honey, chocolate, or candy might contain additional seasonings that are not safe for birds to eat.

Avoid roasted peanuts: Roasted peanuts might have been cooked in oil or salted, which isn’t good for birds. Also, some roasted peanuts can have other seasonings that aren’t safe for our feathered pals to consume. So, it’s better to stick to plain options when feeding them.

Choose raw peanuts: Feeding birds raw peanuts is a safe and nutritious option. You can provide them in shell, whole, or as pieces.

Buy from a reputable source: Peanuts can sometimes have Aspergillus contamination, resulting in a fungus growth with aflatoxin, a harmful toxin. Therefore, it’s important to purchase peanuts from trusted sources to avoid aflatoxin presence.

How to attract peanut-eating birds to yard?

Want to create a bustling environment in your backyard full of chirping birds? We’ve got the perfect idea for you – use peanuts and watch the magic. Your peanut-loving feathery friends would go nuts over the treat.

You can put peanuts in the birdfeeder in your backyard, create a suet and spread it on the bark of a tree, or simply scatter a handful of nuts on the ground.

Platform, tray, or mesh feeders are three great options, especially mesh feeders that keep the supply lasting longer. Go with a tray or platform feeders if you plan to offer a suet cake or peanut butter to the birds.

How to keep squirrels away from the peanuts while feeding birds?

Squirrels eat peanuts from bird feeder
A Squirrel Eating Peanuts From a Bird Feeder

Remember that these nuts are not just a treat for birds. Squirrels and chipmunks love them too. You certainly don’t want squirrels to hoard the treat for your avian friends, do you?

Not to mention these little creatures tend to make a lot of mess. To avoid this kind of situation, keep a specialized feeder for squirrels, such as the squirrel jar, or use a squirrel-proof/caged bird feeder. The squirrels deserve to be fed too!

Alternatively, try to place the bird feeder away from trees and use a squirrel-proof feeder pole. Whatever you do, make sure not to try anything brutal or harmful for them, even though nobody likes the mess they create. Remember that they’re also here in search of food just like the birds.

How to store peanuts in the shell?

If you are purchasing from a store, you don’t need to worry. Otherwise, we’d advise you to dry the peanuts for 2-3 weeks on a tray until their shells are dry and brittle before storing.

After drying, store the nuts in an airtight container or sealed bag. Store the container or bag in a cool, dark place. Make sure to avoid humid places. You can store them up for six months to one year this way.

Can Birds Eat Peanut Butter?

If you have ever heard that peanut butter can choke birds, it’s a myth. You can offer peanut butter to birds without any worry, they won’t be harmed. If you want, you can add it to their backyard buffet anytime.

Birds that are fans of peanuts or suet will happily eat peanut butter as well. Some of them include:

  • Chickadees
  • Wrens
  • Woodpeckers
  • Tits
  • Titmice
  • Creepers
  • Nuthatches

Large species such as starlings, blackbirds, and thrashers can also eat peanut butter if offered, even though they love whole nuts more.

Final Words

We have covered all the necessary aspects regarding feeding peanuts to birds. Hopefully, you now know the answer to your key questions of why and what birds eat peanuts.

If you haven’t started feeding peanuts to your backyard birds yet, what are you waiting for? Rest assured that once you start doing it, you’ll not be lacking entertainment from watching their antics.

The chirping sounds and their playful actions are sure to make your day a whole lot better.

FAQs About What Birds Eat Peanuts

Are peanuts bad for birds?

Peanuts are a healthy treat for birds unless they have fungus growing on them, creating aflatoxins, which is fatal for them. These nuts can be harmful to baby birds as well.

What birds do not eat peanuts?

Peanuts are not suitable for very small birds like hummingbirds and small finches due to their small beaks and dietary needs. Additionally, baby birds cannot eat peanuts because the nuts are too large and hard for them to consume comfortably.

Do all bird species eat peanuts?

Most of the birds eat peanuts or at least will be willing to sample them once, except for really small species. Blue jays and Chickadees are the most common ones to love peanuts.

Do birds prefer shelled or unshelled peanuts?

Birds happily munch on peanuts, whether they’re in or out of the shell. For the little ones, unshelled peanuts or peanut hearts might be their top pick. Meanwhile, the larger birds don’t mind cracking open the shell themselves.

Can Birds Eat Raw Peanuts?

Yes, it is safe to feed birds raw peanuts and it can also be a nutritious option for them. You can provide them in shell, whole, or as pieces.

Can birds eat salted peanuts?

No, salted peanuts can be dangerous for birds due to natural toxins present in them, and don’t go thinking you can wash off the salt.

What birds are attracted to peanut feeders?

Birds that enjoy eating peanuts, like chickadees, woodpeckers, bushtits, jays, wrens, cardinals, and others, can frequently be seen gathering around peanut feeders.