That flying blue streak through the sky is often a beautiful little Blue Jay coming to spend time in your backyard. While some people think Blue Jays are bullies, others love to observe their behavior. These intelligent birds are amazing to watch. From the way they can mimic hawks to the way they know the perfect way to store peanuts, these birds are unique. We’ll give you all you need to know about how to attract blue jays to your backyard.
How to Attract Blue Jays
1. The Right Bird Feeder
Blue Jays are larger than many other songbirds. They also don’t enjoy sharing their food with other birds sometimes. Adult blue jays can be from about nine to 12 inches. They sometimes weigh up to 3.5 ounces. Attracting these larger songbirds means getting a feeder that is big enough for their comfort. They need a large and open surface for eating. They love to jump and move as they find food. It’s important that these feeders don’t sway or swing too much. It will make these bigger birds feel uneasy. It’s best to use ground feeders or pole-mounted feeders for stability.
Blue jays love peanuts. It’s important to keep them stocked and available in your feeder at all times. If the food supply dips, the Blue Jay will find another spot that offers it as a daily meal. They will cache the nuts and also seeds around it to retrieve them at a later time. They love to make repeated trips to gather peanuts to store in a safe spot. These are high-protein meals that blue jays love. Make sure you go for unsalted and roasted peanuts if possible. You don’t want the nuts to sprout. Also, avoid mixing nuts with seasonings. The only upside to peppered nuts is squirrels will stay away from their food.
3. Other Food
Besides peanuts, blue jays also enjoy sunflower seeds and corn. The striped sunflowers and black-oil sunflowers are some of their favorites. They don’t even care if it’s in the shell. They will also eat cracked corn or a kernel of corn. They can fit numerous kernels in their throat sacs and mouths to store for later. They also love mealworms and fruits.
4. Oak Trees
Blue jays need a habitat where they thrive. They are naturally from the forest, so large trees make them feel right at home. Oak trees give them a nesting spot and shelter where they feel safe. Beech trees and oak trees are perfect choices since beechnuts and acorns are a large part of their diet. These trees will increase the amount of exposure you have to these gorgeous birds. Oak trees also attract insects that blue jays love to munch on.
The insects in the oak trees aren’t the only ones that will attract blue jays. These birds provide your area with pest control. They love to eat insects for dinner. If you want blue jays to hang out, don’t use pesticides in your yard. Attract these birds to your yards letting them dine on your grasshoppers and spiders.
6. Nesting Sites
Blue jays will come to your yard if you have great nesting sites in your trees. They don’t use birdhouses because they aren’t cavity-nesting birds. You can put out sticks, grass clippings, and twigs to help them realize your house is the perfect place for their residence. They will look at your open platforms and take shelter in your trees. If you make a platform for the birds, it should be eight inches square so the birds can put their nests on them.
We touched on a few of the materials blue jays may use to make their nests. These birds mate for life. They’ll start building a nest with their mate in the best location. Those little twigs and sticks will help them build this home. They won’t usually use trash or debris but prefer grass clippings and twigs.
Blue jays love to feel safe and secure just like any bird. Besides your oak trees, they may also make a home in pinyon pine trees, conifer trees, and deciduous trees, They love any place that has a natural source of nuts for dining. YOu can provide leaves that they can use to hide their food in. They like to store food for the winter. They feel secure in the thickest trees possible. If there is a food and water source nearby, you’ll find them in your foliage. They will use leftover leaves in your yard to bring to their nesting area to camouflage their caches of food.
7. Bird Bath
Blue Jays love a big, wide birdbath. This size will help them move around with their large bodies and even let their families swim with them. They love to play in their reflection and make splashing noises. You could even invest in a heated bird bath for the colder months. This will help them bathe in the cold weather. They travel with their families so it’s important to allow enough space for all of them to get in the bath. The most important thing is to keep this water clean.
8. Running Water
Blue jays love water in general. They have amazing hearing and sight. They’ll look for water by hearing it. You can add a solar-powered fountain pump so the water will always run in your bird bath. The running water attracts them to your yard, but the bird bath keeps them returning as they enjoy bathing and splashing. You could also put a simple water feature in your yard near your bird bath to attract these birds.
9. Shady Hiding Spots
We explained that Blue Jays like to store their food in their mouths then hide it for later. They really love to do this in shady spots. This helps them feel more secure as if they are camouflaged to the rest of the world. They know their food is safe in shady locations away from the sun. You can provide a nesting platform in a shady hiding spot that is safe away from predators like feisty squirrels, raccoons. and other birds.
It’s an amazing sight to see blue jays perching on your window sills or tree branches. You can provide them these perches if you make sure they are 8×8 and high off of the ground. You can easily mount them on a tree or pole. The only issue is keeping varmints away from their perch. You can use baffles to help make these perches resistant to squirrels and other animals.
Interesting Blue Jay Tidbits
The Bullying Issue
Some people worry about all of these ways of how to attract blue jays to your yard because they think these birds are bullies. They do love to travel in groups. They are like a large range scaring away other birds. They’re very territorial and they may take over your feeders. This is something you must understand before inviting them into your yard. The good news is they scare away small varmints. They also usually back off when they are outnumbered. They may eat small frogs, eggs, baby birds, and invertebrates. These are all things to know and be cautious of before you attract them to your feeders and trees.
Surviving The Cold
Blue Jays are a type of bird that can survive very cold weather. They produce about 25 to 30 percent more feathers when it is cold outside. These feathers are waterproof because they produce body oils that keep their feathers dry acting as insulation. Their plumage will also fluff. They can put their body into a hypothermia state slowing down their heartbeat and dropping their temperatures. Since they travel together, they also huddle to conserve heat.
Listening To Their Speech
Many birders will tell you that blue jays can sound like humans. They actually have a large variety of sounds. They may actually begin to mimic humans. They can mimic the tones and pitches of humans. Listen closely and you’ll hear it.
Blue jays mimic hawks to intimidate the other animals near them. They might imitate a hawk’s sounds to alert other birds that an actual hawk is in their territory. This tells them to take cover. Some people say blue jays don’t have any other motives other than to be a pest and make the hawk sound.
Loving Blue Jays
As a member of the beloved Corvidae family, Blue Jays are some of the most unique and beautiful birds in the world. They’re intelligent and breathtaking to watch. You can sit and watch them figure things out as they go. They know how to get to the best food and protect their families in the best way possible. They will often play with other animals, even chasing cats. They’re easy to identify with their unique markings and colors. They stay in the same area in many places throughout the years, so you really get to know them.
These ways of how to attract blue jays and their unique traits only make these birds more interesting to watch. If you provide their favorite foods next to secure nesting spots, the odds are that you’ll see these beautiful birds in action. Get ready for a show.
- You know Blue Jays really enjoy peanuts — but what else? Check out article on what blue jays’ diet looks like to learn more.
- There’s a bit of lore around blue birds in general. Some people believe there exists a blue cardinal, but it’s just a myth. Check out the aforementioned article about how sometimes Blue Jays can get confused for this mythical species.