Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Peanut Challenge - 4

The wind dropped steadily overnight and the day turned misty, the temperature rising from a heady 4.9C first thing to 5.1C at midday. At some point, before the clouds lifted, it snowed on the tops, with Ben Hiant, seen here from the glen of the Achateny Water looking past Braehouse Cottage, receiving just a sprinkling while the hills down the Sound are snow-capped.

While we ate lunch we kept watch on a fully charge Derryck Morton peanut machine. We'd already seen a blue tit take a peanut on several occasions but each time far too quickly for a photo, but....

....this time we were lucky as, with one long pull on the matchstick followed.... a second sharp tug this one managed.... dislodge a peanut.

I'm fairly sure that it was a male, having a largish black bib, but we're not sure if it is the same blue tit each time.

I am so very deeply impressed. Other than the blue tits, no other bird has shown any interest in the peanuts, and it took the blue tits no time to work out how to free the nut. What is it, other than an innate curiosity, which makes the blue tits, whether of Devon or Ardnamurchan, so very, very clever?


  1. That is fascinating! I'm so glad you had success with your camera.

  2. Hi Jon
    A few years ago I tried the same thing using the old plastic tubes that toothbrushes came in, I went up to using 5 matchsticks in one tube and they still had no trouble working it out, great tits as well I hasten to add,found it just as easy. Its probably using their natural habits of ripping small pieces of bark off trees to get to the insects behind it or moving leaves and twigs on forest floor.
    Also they ripped the top off milk bottles on the doorstep, in them far off days when we had milkman.
    Kev from Kent.

  3. What a great series of images of the clever little bird! Made me smile.

  4. Absolutely fantastic to see the intelligence of the wee birds. Hope those are safety matches!!

  5. Many thanks for the comments. We have great tits but none of them showed any interest - though I have to say that they are mightily outnumbered by the blue tits. And, yes, they are safety matches but we were concerned about how many simply disappeared. Perhaps the blue tits have a use for them. Jon