Monday, 23 January 2017

The Peanut Challenge

The other day a parcel arrived from Derryck Morton, a frequent visitor to Ardnamurchan. It's a peanut challenge for small birds and, with it, Derryck sent a video from which the following is a clip:

Amazed at the intelligence of Devon blue tits, we went onto the internet to find out where this neat little machine came from, but Derryck is an engineer and had built it himself. As he explained, "the body comes from a carbon fibre ice hockey stick handle which is a product we manufacture and the polycarbonate tubes are packaging for our measuring machine probes, with the corresponding endcaps."

Derryck had his machine in a tree at his house in Devon, but for our local birds the site is much more exposed - but with a fine view down the Sound of Mull. But the challenge was - are the Ardnamurchan birds quicker at solving a problem than the Devon ones?

We waited for a fine day, built the machine very easily, set the timer going, and sat down to watch. Interest was immediate, though it's possible that the robin and dunnock were more intent on the seeds left when previous feeders were removed to make way for Derryck's device.

The dunnock and robin were joined by a blackbird, and the robin did have a go at one of the tubes, but then a blue tit arrived. What happened next was so quick....

....that I didn't get a picture of it - but one of the peanuts has gone.

This took less than half an hour but there was a problem. The blue tit hadn't actually removed the matchstick. He'd pecked at it, and the peanut I'd used was so small it had slipped down past the matchstick.

The peanuts have been replaced with larger ones. The blue tit has come back, but the nuts haven't moved. It's now three and a half hours since the challenge was re-set, and none of the peanuts has gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment