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Who Eats Peanuts?


“Who eats peanuts?” many customers ask as they pass the in shell peanuts and peanut pick-out barrels in the store. Many of our backyard birds love peanuts and benefit for peanuts’ high protein and rich fat. See our selection of peanut-based foods and feeders here.

Blue jay flying with peanut in beak
A Blue Jay flies away with a whole peanut in the shell.

Blue Jays Grab and Go

Blue Jays are adept at pulling whole peanuts through the wire grate of in shell peanut feeders. Often Blue Jays will “swallow” one and take another in their bill. They fly up to a tree branch or favorite perch and peck the shells open, eating or storing the nuts.



A Downy Woodpecker pecks at a whole peanut.

Downy Woodpeckers and Chickadees are Extractors

These birds will peck open the shell of whole peanuts while the peanut is still in the feeder and extract one nut.


A titmouse, chickadee and Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoy peanut pick-outs (courtesy of Brome)

Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Cardinals Prefer Peanut Pick-Outs

Peanuts out of the shell, called peanut pick-outs, are usually put in a wire mesh feeder. Pileated Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers frequent these feeders. Cardinals also love peanut pick-outs but don’t do well with the mesh style peanut pick-out feeders. Peanut pick-outs in a fly through feeder, hopper feeder, hanging tray or on a tray attached to a tube feeder are a treasured find for Cardinals.

Contributed by Wayzata store manager, MELISSA BLOCK