Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Irresistible! Attract Blue Jays to Your Feeder

Love them or hate them, there's no denying the charismatic personality of Blue Jays!

If you live east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States or southern Canada, you likely have Blue Jays in your area.

How do you attract blue Jays to your bird feeder? Follow these suggestions to attract Blue Jays to your yard.


Photo of Blue Jay
Blue Jay. Edbo23 from Pixabay.

Why attract Blue Jays to your bird feeder?

Many people love Blue Jays with their beautiful blue plumage and perky crests. Did you know that Blue Jays display their mood with their crests?

Another reason people love Blue Jays is that they are larger and easy to watch. 

And that is interesting because Blue Jays are intelligent and have complex social skills with other members of their close-knit family.

Blue Jays have a wide variety of calls. They can imitate other birds and sometimes even human voices or other noises.

For all these reasons, many people love to see Blue Jays at their feeder.

Photo of Blue Jay
Blue Jay. Skeeze from Pixabay.

What foods will attract Blue Jays to your feeder?

Blue Jays love peanuts. They love peanut halves, peanut pieces and, especially, whole peanuts! Make sure you feed jays only unsalted peanuts.

They also love tree nuts of all kinds. They are attracted to acorns and beechnuts. They take these nuts and hide them in the ground in fall. Then in winter they go back and dig them up to eat. If it's a mild winter and they don't need them all for food, or if they forget where they hid them, they will sprout into new nut trees.

Blue Jays will eat sunflower seeds.

The best mixed bird seed that I have found is Wagner's Songbird Supreme (Amazon affiliate link). It is 50% sunflower seeds and doesn't have any cheap filler seed that birds won't eat. This seed attracts the largest variety of birds to your feeder. Blue Jays will eat the sunflower seeds and most likely leave the smaller seeds for other birds.

And Blue Jays love suet, especially in winter.

For my home feeders, I always purchase St Albans Bay Suet blocks (Amazon affiliate link). It comes in several flavors, including peanut and berry. They fit in required special suet cages, which are a type of bird feeder. 

Jays will also eat fruit and berries. You might try feeding them apple slices and raisins.

Photo of Blue Jay
Blue Jay. Jack Bulmer from Pixabay.

What kind of feeders do Blue Jays like?

Blue Jays are among the larger birds that visit bird feeders. They like larger feeders with ample shelf space to perch and eat comfortably.

They prefer to eat from larger hopper feeders and platform feeders that accommodate the larger size of jays. This also allows them to come and go easily.

The following video is from my new YouTube channel. At Your Feeder: Blue Jay is a brief introduction to this bird. My channel features birds, bird watching, and bird identification. Check it out if you think that would appeal to you!

Where to place your bird feeder for Blue Jays

Blue Jays are usually brash and bold. However, sometimes they can be cautious about approaching feeders too close to people or your windows.

For this reason, it is good to place your feeder out away from your home, maybe 15 feet or so.

Blue Jays also make a tempting target for any housecats in the yard. So raise the feeder up 4 feet or higher to keep them safer.

Photo of Blue Jay
Blue Jay. Alain Audet from Pixabay.

How else can you attract Blue Jays to your yard?

Blue Jays will appreciate larger trees and dense bushes to provide cover and perhaps food.

Oak and beech trees are their favorite. But they will also appreciate walnut trees. 

Apple trees, cherry trees, and similar fruit trees will provide a place of safety and food.

Plant elderberry, huckleberry, and blueberry bushes or create thickets where Blue Jays may build their nest.

Blue Jays love bird baths and fountains. If you can provide such a water feature for them, they will visit even without a bird feeder.

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Photo of Blue Jay
Blue Jay. Pilot Brent from Pixabay.

Problems with Blue Jay: If you have attracted too many to your feeder

Not everyone loves Blue Jays. 

Jays do tend to be aggressive. They may chase away or attack smaller birds. In spring, Blue Jays search out other bird's nests to eat eggs or nestlings.

Blue Jays can be noisy and make loud and harsh calls. Some people do not like their calls--especially in early summer when birds start singing and calling early in the morning.

Jays have a gullet. This is an enlargement of the throat. This allows them to gulp down large quantities of food and hold it temporarily. Then they fly off, regurgitate the whole food, and bury it in a cache. They will dig up this cache in winter and eat it when other foods are scarce.

They can hold up to 5 acorns in their gullet. Imagine how many sunflower seeds they can carry away! Back and forth they go in fall, emptying your feeders. A whole family group may come in and empty your feeder in a few minutes!

A tube feeder that has small perches or is made of mesh, with no perches, may slow down Blue Jays at your feeder.

I really love the way my iBorn tube feeder (Amazon affiliate link) looks, with it's copper top.  A screwdriver takes off the lower perch and opens it up for cleaning. This feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds attracts all types of finches, chickadees, and nuthatches. The smaller perches and lack of tray mean that you'll have fewer House Sparrows, Starlings, Doves, and Jays at this feeder.

Blue Jays cannot hang to feed. Thus, to keep jays away from your suet in winter, place the blocks in an upside-down suet feeder.

I bought a Nature's Way Upside-down suet feeder (Amazon affiliate link) a couple years ago and have been very happy with it. Chickadees, nuthatches, bushtits, and woodpeckers eat from it easily. But starlings, blackbirds, and jays can't hang upside down to get at the suet.

Blue Jay FAQ

Ask questions in the comments below about attracting and feeding Blue Jays and I'll add the answer here!


Why aren't birds coming to your feeder?

First in series: Irresistible! Attract Mourning Doves to your feeder

Next in series: Irresistible! Attract American Goldfinches to your feeder

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January 2023: Thank you so much for visiting! I am working on a YouTube channel on birds and bird watching. Check it out here:



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