Blue jays can add a stunning pop of blue to your backyard. But before you can enjoy their plumage, you have to create a yard that they want to visit.
To attract blue jays to your yard, start by giving them their favorite foods like peanuts and sunflower seeds. You should also place feeders specifically for blue jays in their own part of the yard. This will keep them from fighting for territory with other birds.
Avoid using birdhouses, pesticides, and hanging feeders to keep the blue jays safe and happy. By creating a safe backyard with a lot of resources, you’ll attract plenty of blue jays.
15 Tips For Attracting Blue Jays To Your Yard
1. Blue Jays Love Peanuts
Traditional bird seed is the standard for attracting birds. But you can add something extra to your feeders to draw in blue jays.
Jays love peanuts, even those still in the shell. They have long, sharp beaks that make it easy for them to crack into nuts.
2. Use Sunflower Seeds And Suet
Blue jays don’t just eat peanuts, though. They also like traditional bird seed, especially mixes that contain black oil sunflower seeds.
You can also add a suet feeder to your yard. Suet is clarified kidney fat, and it provides a lot of tasty energy for blue jays.
3. Avoid Hanging Feeders
Hanging feeders are great for small birds. Blue jays, however, are 9-12 inches long, which is rather large. They also have long, broad tails that they have to balance.
Feeders that hang from a pole don’t balance the weight of a blue jay very well. They tend to swing because of the weight, which makes it hard for the blue jays to sit comfortably.
Hanging feeders are less likely to attract blue jays because of this.
4. Blue Jays Prefer Tray And Platform Feeders
Instead of a hanging feeder, try a tray for platform feeders.
Tray feeders can sit on the ground without support but may be easier for squirrels to raid. Platform feeders need a pole or raised surface but are safer from squirrels.
Both are sturdy and balanced enough for larger birds. So, you’ll attract more blue jays if you put them in your yard.
5. Have A Specific Feeder For Blue Jays
Another way to ensure you have blue jay visitors is to give them their own space. Blue jays are very territorial birds and will bully and chase away other birds.
By providing a feeder just for blue jays, you’ll provide an easy territory for them. You’ll also keep them from bothering your other backyard visitors.
Choose a location for your blue jay feeders that’s separate from others. Fill it with food blue jays prefer and only use flat, sturdy feeders rather than hanging ones.
6. Place Your Feeders Near Bushy Areas
A great place to establish a blue jay zone in your yard is near shrubs and bushes. Blue jays like to use thick foliage as cover, especially when they eat.
Placing your feeders near this kind of covered area will make the blue jays feel much more comfortable.
7. Plant Fruit-Bearing Shrubs
If you want to add more bushy areas in which your blue jays can roost, try fruit bushes. While blue jays eat seeds, nuts, and insects, they also need some fruit in their diet.
Small fruits are a good option. You can try elderberries, blackberries, and even grapes. A bush or shrub that provides food, as well as shelter, is sure to be attractive to blue jays.
8. Plant Trees That Produce Cones And Nuts
An even better food source for blue jays than fruit bushes is nut and cone trees, or conifers. These include pine trees, beech trees, and acorn trees.
Blue jays can access the nuts and seeds inside shells and cones using their strong beaks. Bushy trees like spruces and pine trees also provide them with cover and nesting spots.
Of course, trees take a long time to grow and produce their seeds, but they’re very attractive to blue jays.
9. Blue Jays Like Bird Baths
Every bird needs to drink and bathe. That’s why you should consider a bird bath in addition to a feeder to attract blue jays.
The key to attracting any animal is to offer basic needs that require little to no effort to get. Once they know that your yard is a reliable source of clean water, they’re likely to return again and again.
10. Heat Your Bird Bath For The Winter
Don’t forget to care for your blue jays during the winter. While many birds migrate to warmer areas for the winter, blue jays do not. At best, they’re short-distance migrators, possibly only moving to more food nearby.
So, if you’ve got blue jays for most of the year, you’ll probably see them in the winter, too. And birds in the winter still need to drink and bathe.
That’s why a heated bird bath is a great option to attract blue jays all year round.
Heating elements make it harder for ice to form, giving the birds easier and more comfortable access. This also makes it easier to maintain, since you don’t have to break up the ice yourself.
11. Blue Jays Don’t Use Birdhouses
One of your first instincts to attract blue jays may be to put up a few birdhouses. But blue jays, unlike many other birds, don’t like to use birdhouses to roost or nest.
Blue jays are cup nesters who prefer to nest and roost in the outer branches of coniferous and deciduous trees. They’ll likely ignore any birdhouses you try to put up.
12. Offer Nesting Materials
Instead of birdhouses, you can offer a pile of nesting material for blue jays to use. They build cup nests out of twigs, roots, grass, and mud.
When doing yard work during the breeding season, don’t throw away your yard trimmings. Instead, put them in a pile near the blue jay area of your yard.
Again, making resources easy to access is a great way to draw in more blue jays.
13. Make A Leaf Litter Pile
In addition to nesting materials, you can also provide a pile of leaf litter to attract blue jays. Blue jays like to hide some of their extra nuts underneath loose leaves for later use.
Giving them a nice leafy area next to their feeders will give them an attractive place to store their food.
14. Respect Their Personal Space
Blue jays can be aggressive birds, both to humans and other birds. They will fiercely protect their territory, but first, they need to actually like the space they have.
It can be tempting to get close to blue jays, but it’s important to give them plenty of space.
Separate their feeding areas from other feeders and don’t bother them. Let them know that they have a safe area that they don’t have to spend energy defending.
15. Pesticides Can Be Harmful To Blue Jays
Nobody wants a yard full of insects, but they’re an important part of a blue jay’s diet. Let your blue jay visitors take care of any pests you have instead of using harmful pesticides.
These chemical deterrents harm the environment as a whole as well as blue jays. Birds aren’t going to go to a yard that makes them sick. Let the bugs serve as another food source for your jays.
If you really want to deter certain bugs, try planting mint, rosemary, or other aromatic herbs to fend them off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Do Blue Jays Live?
Blue jays live in the eastern half of the U.S., ranging from about Texas to the East Coast. Whether you’re in the deep south or up near Canada, you’ll likely have blue jays in this area.
They’re year-round residents as well, so you can see them all year.
How Do You Get Rid Of Blue Jays In Your Yard?
Since blue jays are aggressive, there may come a time when you need to reduce the number in your yard. If they’re bullying other birds too much or being too loud, sometimes blue jays can be too much.
To deter blue jays, remove their food for a few days. Make sure other feeders don’t have any peanuts or sunflower seeds. Also, use hanging feeders that blue jays don’t like as much.
If you live in the eastern U.S., you can attract blue jays to your yard at any time. Food, water, and safe shelter are some of the most important things you can provide them. Just as important, though, is their own space where they don’t have to compete for resources or feel in danger.
Follow these fifteen tips and tricks and you’ll attract plenty of blue jays in no time.