Peanuts don't seem to go down...

Hi all,

We moved to a house back in September after thirteen years in a flat overlooking a harbour - yes, effectively our back garden was water and all we saw were loads of cormorants and razorbills and guillemots, along with an assortment of gulls.

So, in October we bought a feeding station and put Peanuts, Sunflower hearts, and Suet balls up. Within a week they had been found and ever since are frequented by Starlings and Goldfinches mainly. We get the odd blue tits and house sparrows too, but other than starlings occasionally, nothing touches the peanuts!

We used to have trays on the feeders but had to remove them due to Pigeons taking all the Sunflower hearts. What can we do to encourage more peanuts to be used? Or, should we replace the peanuts entirely with an alternative feeder?

We'd like more variety and frequency of birds visiting, but due to renting and our restrictions in what we can do in the garden, we don't have much scope for planting shrubs and trees etc. to attract more.

Ideas on the peanuts in particular would be greatly appreciated as we end up throwing most of it away as it gets wet and mouldy.



  • Hi Paul.
    A lot of people, me included find Peanuts get left alone, I ended up smashing them up a bit before I put them in the feeder so the birds can take a piece and fly off.

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  • I would suggest moving the feeders a bit closer to the fence. Birds like to have nearby cover for protection. As far as the peanuts go, I agree with Alan. Crush the ones you already have and then use kibbled peanuts in future.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • Thanks Alan and Monkeycheese.
    I will crush the next lot up when I empty and change them again.
    With regards to the position of the feeders, we made sure that we positioned them six foot away from the side fence with the ivy so that it's out of the range of cats (the back fence does have a cat that uses it to get from one garage roof to the other which is why it is away from that one), but close enough for cover. The birds do tend to fly to and fro that side fence and the tree in the neighbour's garden.
    We will monitor it and see. When we leave the Suet balls empty the Starlings do tend to eat the peanuts, but find that in general we get less in the garden. I know some people don't like Starlings but we'd rather something eat the food than none at all!

  • I agree re smashing the nuts up. The other alternative would be to take the sunflower hearts away until the nuts are eaten. Birds eat what they are given to a large extent, and lots of choice means least favoured food is ignored.
  • Thanks Robbo. I actually said this to my wife before I replied to the earlier posts. (Would you pass up your favourite pizza for beans on toast?!)
    Maybe we'll change it up a bit and see what results that brings.
    It's funny because I thought from what I had heard that the blue tits would love the Suet balls, but they just go for the Sunflower hearts. Maybe taking those down for a while will encourage other activity.

  • Just be careful if you get Goldfinches in your garden if you remove the hearts completely you will lose them.

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  • Yes, good point Alan.
  • Hello Paul, different folks feed different foods and get varying birds to the garden. I feed premium seed, Sunflower hearts, Niger seed, fat balls and cakes, suet pieces and whole peanuts in feeders and scattered (always in feeders in the breeding season) an the lot gets eaten. I have even seen over the last while the robin, blackbird and sparrow at the feeders as well as ground feeding.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Yes, good point Alan... other than the Starlings it's just the Goldfinches that are regulars, so we'd definitely not want to give them an excuse to leave!
  • Thanks Catlady. I think we may experiment with some different feeders in place of the peanuts and see what we attract. If it turns out that the peanuts are just not favourable then fair enough. We will do a bit of research as to what we should try. When we first ventured into bird feeding we felt from the research and advice we had that the hearts, Suet and peanuts were a good start, but we may just leave the peanuts for now and have some fun trying out other stuff.