Blue Jays

Compliments of Wild Birds Forever

Let’s talk about these large and often gregarious birds! Some people love them and some people love to hate them! Regardless of your disposition, let’s learn more about these beautiful birds OK? Jays, who have a habit of “planting” seeds and acorns, are actually very beneficial and are responsible for many of the trees and forests we have.

Their loud voice and aggressive manner will always let us know when they are in our backyard! There are many jays in North America including the more notable scrub jay, found in the west, the steller’s and pinyon jays found in the western mountains, and the well-known eastern blue jay. Regardless of the area you live in, chances are you will have a visit from one of these beautiful blue birds!

Range and Habitat

Most jays live year round in their chosen territory, except for the eastern blue jay which moves slightly northward during the breeding season.

Today, you can find jays in just about any habitat from deep forests to suburban gardens. They do, however prefer oak woodlands.

How to Attract Jays to Your Backyard!

  1. The powerful, all-purpose bill of most jays efficiently handles a varied diet. Most of their diet is vegetable, but they also eat some insects. Their most important natural food source is acorns. They will also feed on berries such as elderberries, cherries and dogwood.
  2. Just add Peanuts! Let’s face it, most of you know that if you put out whole, raw peanuts, they will draw the jays in your area like a magnet! Offer whole peanuts in a large platform feeder or on the ground or flat surface. Jays will usually take one whole peanut, stuff it down its throat, then fill its mouth with another, then quickly fly away to bury it!
  3. Jays also enjoy whole or shelled black oil sunflower seed. and striped sunflower seed. Because jays are large birds, offer their favorite foods in a platform feeder or feeder with lots of perching space.
  4. Plant an oak tree! This will not only attract jays but many other birds that rely on this popular tree for food.
  5. Jays won’t nest in birdhouses, but construct large, open shelf nests. They prefer sticks and twigs for nesting materials. Since building a nest can take hundreds of trips, offer a pile of sticks and twigs nearby to help them out! They will also line their nests with grasses and mud.
  6. Suet is also a favorite backyard feeder food, if they can get to it! Try suet cakes in a simple suet feeder and watch their antics while they work at getting to your suet.
  7. Don’t forget to offer a source of water for drinking and bathing. The large jays are fun to watch displacing lots of water in your birdbath!

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