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Melissa Mayntz

Peanuts Not Bird Food?

By July 21, 2013

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A New Jersey couple facing fines for feeding backyard birds is heading back to court, but the pertinent issue is not their backyard wildlife, but supposedly inappropriate food. According to NorthJersey.com, the couple faces up to $500 in fines for feeding wildlife, though elevated bird feeders are acceptable under the law. A local environmental health specialist has stipulated that birds do not eat peanuts, and therefore the couple's peanut feeder was in violation of the law because it could not be for feeding birds.

Not only do many birds eat peanuts - including jays, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers and nuthatches - but nuts are some of the best summer bird foods to offer as a healthy protein source and a food the birds can cache for winter storage.

What birds have you seen eating peanuts? Share your feeding experiences, and your thoughts on the ridiculousness of this case, in the comments!

Blue Jay Eating Peanuts
Photo Randen Pederson


July 21, 2013 at 11:07 am
(1) Doug in Texas says:

Don’t tell this to my backyard birds. They seem to love peanuts. This week I’ve had these visitors in my two peanut feeders; Woodpeckers, Jays, Blackbirds, Starlings, Titmice, and more.

We use about 5 pounds of shelled peanuts each week to 10 days. The bigger birds like the nuts in the shell too.

July 21, 2013 at 11:33 am
(2) cathartes says:

This so-called “environmental health specialist” is also a wildlife biologist? Doesn’t sound like it. I would challenge that person’s input and have them prove that nuts are not good for birds.

Certainly I would never put out salted nuts or those flavored/sugared things. And having peanut shells all around the neighbors’ yards is not very attractive but it’s not as bad as feeding birds junky birdseed that gets scattered and then attracts rats.

July 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm
(3) Birdy says:

Many birds love peanuts, including ducks. I think, in this case, there may be more to the story. It’s possible that they’re trying to discourage squirrels, grackles, crows, and other “pests” and are trying to get them to stop feeding by threatening them with this fine. Though I don’t know if this couple was causing a problem in this manner.

I’ve known people threatened with fines because they fed birds and wild animals a lot more than the average person. These people were told that feeding birds is illegal, as well. But the real reason they wanted them to stop was that they were attracting so many squirrels and rodents who dug holes and people were getting injured from those holes.

July 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm
(4) JPJ says:

A friend of mine pointed out that a simple Amazon search would clear this up for the township. There seem to be a heckuva lot of birdseed companies who seem to believe that birds eat peanuts: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_17?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=wild%20bird%20peanuts&sprefix=wild+bird+peanuts%2Caps%2C149&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Awild%20bird%20peanuts

July 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm
(5) Gale says:

In my back yard, crows, jays, starlings, chickadees and blackbirds eat peanuts. I’ve seen cardinals eat peanuts in Ontario. Magpies eat peanuts as well. I think this New Jersey community needs to change it’s laws.

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