The Blue Jay and the Peanut Story

This is a story about a bird and the peanut.  Our November Thanksgiving story begins with one ungrateful bird not eating his seed and another greedy bird wanting it a little too much. Sounds like a tale with a moral, right?

Every morning when I feed my cockatoo his fruit and vegetables (along with his favorite bacon strip and egg breakfast, see why he turns his beak up at the seed?), rather than waste the seed he dumps in protest for something better, I take it outside for the birds and squirrels. Each morning the wildlife greets me waiting for the fare. If I am not out there by eight AM, they start squawking up a storm. See angry bird above, I don’t make this stuff up, these birds get grouchy.

Usually, they do not let me outside to photograph them while they eat, but this morning decided to put on a show as I sat eight feet away. Of course, we are talking about a small bowl of food, so the outside critters usually have a showdown on who gets the seed. It is premium seed too, with dried fruit in the mix. It is so entertaining watching who becomes the winner of the pile.

The squirrels are always the first to the loot. But the blue jays will have none of this every single day without a fight over it. Below the showdown begins.

The little birds wait in the lilac for the leftovers too small for the bigger critters. Look, another angry bird.

The blue jays are greedy too, going for the biggest nuts first, knowing the squirrels are peanut crazy. There is a very determined look on this jay’s face. The squirrel gets ready to race to the pear tree as both keep an eye on each other.

The fight ensues in the pear tree. My pear tree has been the venue for more fights than you can imagine. The squirrels are fast in the tree and jump to the fence in retreat.

A peanut is scored by our triumphant jay. But how the heck is the jay going to get the peanuts out? This jay was pretty smart, or not so smart, however you view his method.

Grab the bounty firmly in beak…

Fly off into the pear tree… (and note the clipped pear leaves on the ground from the brief battle). Make sure to position yourself to keep a watchful eye on the pile and keep squirrels at bay.

Proceed to beat that peanut into submission. That’s right, bang the thing up and down repeatedly against the branch until the shell opens. His head went up and down hitting that peanut against the branch like you see in the cartoons. And really fast like a woodpecker. It was comical and I cannot imagine him not having a headache. I should have had the video camera instead.

But what happened with all the banging, he lost the first nut. You can see how he is trying to figure out how to hang on the next nut still inside the shell.

He successfully figures it out too. Now that’s a big nut to swallow.

Well, time for another go. Round two.

If you ask me, this is a lot of work to get one peanut. Fight off the squirrels, then work your tail off to get the nut out, when it would have been much easier to just eat the sunflower seeds and leave the peanuts to the squirrels. Share the food for the holiday, a good policy. But he starts all over again on another peanut. I still think he got a headache, he looks a little dazed to me. He should be thankful not to be a turkey too.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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26 Responses to The Blue Jay and the Peanut Story

  1. Great photos capturing this morning routine. I’m smiling because as I’m typing this, I’m watching a battle for peanuts going on in my own back yard between the squirrels and blue jays. Every morning, they also put on a show.

  2. Autumn Belle says:

    I enjoy this show about the blue jay, the squirrel and the peanuts.

  3. Victor Ho says:

    Nice story. The jays around our bird feeder are very shy. They come in for a minute and fly away at the first sign of anyone approaching. I presume that they are the biggest and feel most vulnerable to predators. I wonder how they are familiar with peanuts. In NY this would not be a familiar food source. So, how would they know to break in for the nut?

  4. Cat says:

    Sounds like a wonderfully entertaining scenario for you each morning. A win/win and everyone is happy. Well, maybe not the squirrel! Happy Thanksgiving, Donna!

  5. One says:

    That’s good entertainment. You captured them perfectly too. It seems real hard to make a living. Whatever earned easily slips away like the peanut.

  6. helensadornmentsblog says:

    What a great story. Your pictures were perfect. I especially liked the one where the blue jay did look very angry.

  7. Martha says:

    You are quite the photographer! Thanks for taking the trouble to capture the joy and remind us why we feed the wildlife that we feed.

  8. That’s an amazing colour on that Bird, Donna and a beautiful series of photos.

  9. John says:

    I always appreciate and respect any bird that can bully and intimidate the squirrels, they deserve it. And I’m very impressed by your blue jay pictures, they’re terrific.

  10. What great entertainment…who needs TV…the critters keep us amused…what a respite to watch them every morning…thx for sharing such a wonderful story…Happiest of Thanksgiving to you and yours Donna!!!!

  11. Bridget says:

    Great photo story to make me smile on this grey, damp evening.

  12. What a beautiful bird. Happy Thanksgiving Donna

  13. Barbie says:

    What a lovely story and great shots of the bluejay!

  14. b-a-g says:

    I wonder if the bluejay has figured out that squirrels bury peanuts. Wish I had such colourful birds in my garden.
    Happy Thanksgiving Donna.

  15. Emily Heath says:

    Birds are very inventive when it comes to getting food open. When I was in San Diego this summer I watched seagulls dropping molluscs from very high up onto the wet sand on the beach. It took quite a few goes but sometimes they were successful at getting their shells open. I’ve also heard of crows using traffic to their advantage by waiting at traffic lights, dropping walnuts as the cars go then picking them up once the traffic stops:

    • Emily, I had to respond to your comment after viewing the link you left. Thank you, too. Birds are pretty ingenious. My cockatoo has a similar story to the crows with walnuts. He is very capable of opening a walnut on his own but one morning I was hearing a plunking noise up in his room. My pet turtle and pet guinea pig were also in the pet room. Well, anyway, I kept hearing this plunking noise like something bouncing off something else. When I went into the room, my cockatoo was sitting on top of his cage throwing walnuts at the turtle shell. That was the noise I was hearing. I stood there in amazement as the bird flung walnuts still in their shell six feet into the aquarium with amazing accuracy. It was a game to him I guess, but I am sure the turtle did not think so. The aquarium had many walnut floating in the water. None opened though as you might have guessed.

  16. Bluetiful! be thankful for your many talents and your wildlife encounters Donna – we your readers certainly are

  17. Dear Donna, Love this story. I echo Laura’s sentiments! Happy Thanksgiving! P. x

  18. I have always loved the beautiful colors of blue jays. You give a lot of personality to that jay in the peanut fight–very cute.

  19. Indie says:

    Beautiful captures of the blue jay. I’ve never known how they get the nut out of the shell before. I kind of feel bad for him – he must sure love peanuts to go through all that!
    Birds are so much fun to watch. Happy Thanksgiving!

  20. Donna,

    I have just included your blog in my nomination list for The Versatile Blogger Award. Because you might have been nominated for this one or more times before, I included the following in my announcement:

    “Some of the following bloggers may have been nominated for this award in the past and might not feel they have anything more to share, but my list would not be complete without them.”

    See the details at

    Keep up those great posts! –John

  21. Ah, the theater of nature and wildlife 🙂 How wonderfully you captured these antics to share with us! Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving!

  22. Debbie says:

    What a fun post. I always love it when a squirrel is on the losing end of a food fight with a bird!

  23. Malinda says:

    You captured so much personality in the blue jay – he’s gorgeous! Great shots!

  24. Debra says:

    Thank you very much for an entertaining post. Blue jays are, indeed, tenacious!

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