who don't use synthetic chemicals on their property, and who plant native
and well-adapted plants often find themselves with an abundance of birds
to watch. In fact, many of us put up bird feeders and bird baths to
attract our feathered friends.
Well, if you're looking for another way to view your backyard birds
up close and personal, maybe a peanut feeder is just the thing! Peanut
feeders are available at any bird feeding store, along with the peanuts
that fill them. If you have trees on your property, you are almost guaranteed
to attract a constant parade of birds: titmice, chickadees, wrens, downy
woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and red-bellied woodpeckers are among
those I've seen most often at my feeder.
As with everything in life, though, we must take the good with the bad.
Just as with other feeders, there are opportunists just waiting for
a new treat! The occassional pest will visit your peanut feeder, although
I've found that if you have other feeders nearby, most of these freeloaders
will go for an easier target. Among the unwelcome visitors to my peanut
feeders have been rats, starlings, and squirrels. Use the same tactics
that work for your other feeders.
I've not found a good method to keep the starlings away, but in my wooded
yard they usually aren't too much of a pest.
Once a year, when the worms come down from the oak trees, we get an
infestation of them. They flock to the feeders and make a mess of everything,
but I have to admit that they are also performing a service as I see
them root through the lawn looking for those tasty oak worms! During
this time, I sometimes just take down my feeders entirely and wait for
the worm population to decrease and the starlings to move along.
Rats are easily banned from your peanut feeder with a squirrel baffle
on the pole or shephards hook used to hang the feeder, or an above-the-feeder
baffle if their method of entry is to crawl down the chain from which
the feeder is hung.
Squirrels are a little more difficult to keep away. Because I have so
many trees in my yard, I've found few places to hang a feeder that are
far enough from branches to make jumping impossible. Try to have the
feeder at least 5 feet above the ground and 10 feet from anything they
can use as a launch pad.
One nice thing about a peanut feeder is that you have more leeway on
location than you would for normal bird seed. Few peanuts get dropped
from the feeder, and those that do never sprout underneath, making this
a perfect companion to the flower beds near the house in front of a