Sunday, August 16, 2009

The peanut routine

Quite a few people, it seems, have the time and patience to train wild birds to come to their hands for tidbits of food.

Books have been written about it....

And blogs....

and Web sites

My grandfather did this too. Before ill health compelled him to sell his house and move into a mobile home, he went outside everyday at the same time and sat very still in a lawn chair on his driveway with peanuts in his hand. Eventually, the scrub jays could not resist the lure of the peanut and they would land and take the peanuts from his hand. I can remember crowding at the window overlooking the driveway with the other kids to watch this.

My father also feeds peanuts to the scrub jays, but he doesn't sit and wait for them to come.

Every morning he goes out and throws a cup of scratch feed on the ground for the doves and the sparrows. Then he puts 6 peanuts on the top bar of the yard swing for the jays.

My dad is a man of routine, and he does this every day at almost the same time. The birds don't wear pocket watches or keep an eye on the clock on the wall, but I noticed when I was staying with them in July that not a bird was in sight until about 15 minutes before the time he normally goes out. And then there they were. Perched on the wires and the garage roof, waiting. And lurking in the trees are the scrub jays.

They don't come while he puts the peanuts out, but as soon as he turns his back and begins to walk away, the jays --at least two and possibly three --

land on the swing and began to take the peanuts, and fly off with them. And one by one, the peanuts disappear...

And one seems particularly greedy.


Tami said...

Oh he does seem like a greedy chap doesn't he!

I love that you shared your Dad's routine.

Wanda said...

I sometimes think of trying to get chickadees to eat out of my hand...saw a hint of leaving seeds on a glove for them...then eventually wearing the glove yourself.

Andora said...

That is really a cool thing that your dad does,thanks for sharing.I just recently found your blog,really enjoy it..

Tami said...

I have something I want to snail mail to you....please email me your address. h(dot)bluehorizon(at)gmail(dot)com