how to attract blue jay birds

Few people can miss the striking coloration (and bold personality!) of the Blue Jay, and we see them often in our backyards. They are medium-to-large, gregarious birds with heavy bills, related to magpies and crows. They can be loud and noisy, often because they’re trying to intimidate other birds or intruders.

Blue Jays favor suet, whole or shelled peanuts, bread scraps and sunflower seeds. They don’t really like hanging feeders.

They can be bullies at bird feeders, so you may want to add small feeders that jays cannot use, or put out dedicated peanut feeders for them to enjoy.

Blue Jays eat their food by holding in their feet and pecking it open, and store food in caches to eat later.

Blue Jays do visit bird baths for cleaning and bathing! And yes, heated birdbaths in winter.

Sunflower seeds, bread scraps, whole or shelled peanuts, and suet are preferred by blue jays. They don’t really like hanging feeders.

Yes, blue jays use heated birdbaths in the winter, and they do come to clean and bathe in them!

The vivid coloring and audacious nature of the Blue Jay are hard to overlook, and we frequently spot them in our backyards. They resemble magpies and crows, and they are gregarious, medium-to-large birds with thick bills. They frequently use their loudness to frighten away other birds or intruders.

They can be bullies at bird feeders, so you might want to put out special peanut feeders for them to enjoy or add tiny feeders that jays cannot use.

Blue Jays store food in caches to consume later, and they consume it by holding it in their feet and pecking it open.

Blue Jays’ Favorite Foods

As they forage, blue jays can appear to be avaricious guests due to their voracious appetites. In order to retrieve food later, they frequently conceal it beneath leaves or grass clippings. These birds are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they will try a variety of foods. They prefer peanuts at backyard feeders in any form—whole, shelled, or even peanut butter.

If you scatter some nuts around, the jays will undoubtedly get into a boisterous argument over the delicious morsels. Even multiple nuts may be taken by one bird at once, and it will swiftly take off to conceal its find.

Other blue jay favorites include:

  • Mealworms, fresh or dried
  • Suet cakes, shreds, nuggets, or suet butter
  • Sunflower seeds of any type
  • Cracked corn or whole corn kernels

by edbo23 from Pixabay

These are larger birds, so to feel most comfortable, they require larger, more robust feeders. For jays, hopper feeders and open trays or platforms are ideal, especially when multiple birds will be stopping by. Additionally, small dishes work well for serving more discerning treats like peanut hearts.

Feeders can be quickly emptied by these birds, so providing natural food sources in the yard can help satisfy their appetites. Trees and shrubs that bear nuts, such as pinyon pine, oak, beech, and hazelnut, are excellent choices. Additionally, jays will consume berries from bushes and small fruit trees, such as huckleberries, elderberries, cherries, and blackberries.

The number of blue jays you can feed in your yard will increase with the number of food sources you provide. Offering a variety of food options will appeal to a greater range of birds in addition to jays.

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Bird Baths and Drinking Water for Blue Jays

Blue jays are avid bathers and often visit bird baths to replenish their fluids. For blue jays, a wide basin that is 2-3 inches deep is ideal. Their energetic splashes can quickly empty the bath, so be sure to check it frequently. A wiggler or dripper added to the water will help draw the jay’s attention.

To guarantee that the birds can see the sparkling water, place the bath in a bright, open area.

Blue jays stay within their range all winter, so in order to keep providing water for them to drink, a heated bird bath is necessary. Blue jays usually stop bathing when the weather cools and snow falls—mostly Sometimes on a sunny day, they might take a quick dip in the bathtub.

These large songbirds require mature trees for suitable shelter. For blue jays, both coniferous and deciduous trees can provide a haven. After the leaves fall in the fall and winter, evergreen trees become even more important. Minimize pruning trees so the shelter remains dense and protective.

Jays can also be attracted by planting multiple trees close to one another or by adding tall shrubbery to the yard.

Blue jays will construct their nests in the same trees they use for cover during the breeding season. The presence of nesting materials like twigs and grass clippings will entice blue jays to build their nests close by. These birds can also make use of sizable nesting shelves that are hidden by sloping roofs or beneath eaves. They will not routinely use bird houses.

Stellers Jay / Shutterstock


What are Blue Jays attracted to?

Blue Jays favor suet, whole or shelled peanuts, bread scraps and sunflower seeds. They don’t really like hanging feeders.

What is the best bird food for Blue Jays?

Feed. Blue jays enjoy nuts, especially peanuts–whole or already shelled. They also like common bird feed like suet, cracked corn, and black oil sunflower seeds. However, blue jays will need to feed on a platform feeder or a large tray because of their size.

How do you befriend Blue Jays?

You earn a Blue Jay’s trust by offering their favorite foods (sunflower, corn, peanuts) on large feeding platforms and open feeders.

Why wont Blue Jays come to my feeder?

They prefer to eat on the ground. If you put black oil sunflower seeds in a feeder, the cardinals will eventually go to it, but not the blue jays or sparrows. Just put out more on the ground for them. You’re lucky to have the blue jays.