Jul 12, 2010

How To Attract Blue Jays To Your Yard (or, garden's got the blues, part II)

A family of six jays came to the yard this morning, and stayed for lunch, a drink and a bath.  I sat in the middle of the yard with my camera, and took these pics.  They seemed to enjoy my company, posing and looking at me in wonder, but unphased and unafraid.

We've have the same adult couple return every summer for the last few years, and they come down to the peanut plate when we shake the container to call them.  Most of these pictures are of the juveniles who are getting familiarised with 'the lay of land'.

After a few seasons of getting acquainted with us, these jays seem to be here to stay.  Here are a few things we've done to attract them to our yard.


Blue jays are habitual birds with a voracious appetite for peanuts.  They will eat other seeds, but you'll get their attention with peanuts (we spoil them by giving them the shelled variety, mixed with the odd sunflower seed). 

Ideally, you'll want to provide a plate, a feeder with a platform for them, or a windowsill.  They are large birds and find it easier to feed this way as opposed to hanging on to a hanging feeder.  If this is the only type you have on hand, one with large holes through which they can get the peanuts and large seeds will also work.

Feeding Times

Another thing we discovered is that if you put the peanuts out, they'll eat them until they're gone.  This also being true for our resident squirrels and chipmunks, we have come to rely on our own observations of their schedules to put out treats for them.  It won't be long until they start calling if they come to the platter and find it empty.  In the beginning, they will be shy about feeding around you.  This is the ideal time to introduce them to how the feeding is going to take place.  We've trained our jays to recognise the sound of the old coffee can that we store the peanuts in.  If we hear them calling in a neighbouring yard, we shake the can and within minutes, they'll fly down to get a snack.

Another feature that will attract them is water.  They especially love to hear the sound of water.  A few years ago, we kept our garden hose on a very low trickle in a wheelbarrow, which seemed to work attract them and the evening grosbeaks.  Now that they are familiar with us, they come to our bird baths in between feeding.  It's very important for the water to be kept clean and cool, as they need the water for drinking as well.

Blue jays are very entertaining.  They are quite comical, loud and loyal.  When you provide these essentials for them, you can be sure that your neighbourhood jays will be regular visitors to your yard.  I've even heard stories of people hand feeding their blue feathered friends.  I hope to be so lucky.


Related Posts with Thumbnails