How to Attract Blue Jays to Your Yard

My birding journey started a few shorts months ago and I have been fortunate to see a wide variety of birds such as cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, sparrows, titmice, wrens and even a male yellow-shafted northern flicker! I have also seen the infamous blue jay. Blue jays have often been touted as “bully” birds but despite this title, their striking blue feathers and loud calls still make them a favorite among birders.

Although I have caught glimpses of jays and heard their distinct calls from afar, I have yet to snap a good photo of one so I did some research to find out how I can better attract blue jays to my yard for that perfect photo opportunity. Here is what I found out!

To attract blue jays, a surefire method is to provide the type of feeder they prefer. Jays are large birds and range in size from 9.8 to 11.8 inches and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 ounces so it would make sense that they prefer a large platform, or open feeder. Other feeders that attract jays are wreath feeders that can be filled with whole peanuts and certain types of hopper feeders.

I have seen many images of blue jays holding onto a peanut and for good reason! Another great way to attract them is to offer one of their favorite foods–the almighty peanut! Jays enjoy peanuts in or out of the shell and are one of the few birds that can crack a peanut shell in order to get to the nuts inside. Jays also enjoy black-oil or striped sunflowers seeds and whole kernel or cracked corn. Also, if your yard provides a supply of acorns, you can place those in your feeder as another welcomed treat!

Lastly, another sure way to attract jays is to provide a water source. This is one step I have yet to take for my yard but one I will definitely consider, especially with the upcoming change in season. With winter approaching, many birds will be on the lookout for a reliable water source to bathe and drink and I have heard that jays enjoy having fun in the water as well! Since they are such a large bird, a bath that is deeper and wider in the middle will be a must. Jays also travel as a family unit, so the whole crew may bathe together at once which means the larger the better.

In short, to attract blue jays, be sure to offer a feeder that will work for their large size, their favorite foods such as shelled or unshelled peanuts, and a clean and reliable water source all year round. With these tips you’ll undoubtedly attract these beautiful, striking, and fun birds to your yard for the perfect photo opportunity or simply to enjoy their playful backyard banter.

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