It’s surprising to me that some people don’t enjoy seeing Blue Jays in their backyard. They think jays are a “bully” bird and are too noisy, aggressive, and messy.


I could not disagree more! I love attracting Blue Jays to my yard.


They are one of my favorite birds to watch because of their array of vocalizations (did you know jays imitate hawks?), intelligence, beauty, and overall temperament of a bad-ass.


Also, seeing Blue Jays makes me think of my mom who passed away in 2011. When we first went to the cemetery right after the funeral, I remember sitting there still in shock with my family. I couldn’t help but notice that right above us in the trees were multiple Blue Jays making all sorts of loud sounds and generally having a grand time. Now, whenever I see a jay, I think of my mom, and it makes me smile.


Anyways, if you don’t like Blue Jays, this is probably not the post for you. 🙂


Over the next 10 minutes, I am going to share with you four different strategies you can implement to attract Blue Jays to your backyard.


Strategy #1: Use Blue Jay friendly bird feeders.


Blue Jays are substantially larger when compared to most other songbirds that visit your feeders. From bill to tail, Adult Blue Jays range in size from 9 inches to 12 inches long. Their weight is typically between 2.5 to 3.5 ounces.


For comparison, Black-capped Chickadees average 5 inches in length and weigh about half an ounce. Goldfinches are similar in size and weight to chickadees. Northern Cardinals are lucky to be 9 inches long and typically weigh nearly half the amount of a Blue Jay.

attracting blue jays to bird feeders

These facts are important when considering the type of bird feeders you hang in your backyard. If you want to attract Blue Jays, you need to make sure you have at least one feeder that is large enough to appeal to them.


Many bird feeders are designed to only appeal to the more popular, smaller songbirds. Tube feeders are a great example. Blue Jays can’t fit their bodies onto the smaller perches to feed!


Blue Jays prefer feeders that provide large, open surfaces. They like having the ability to move and jump around, searching for the best pieces of food to take with them.


For example, the bird feeder I own that attracts Blue Jays the best is my tray feeder. I have the feeder sitting on the ground, but it’s versatile and can also be hung or permanently mounted to a pole.

View the video below to see my tray feeder (made by Woodlink) feeding Blue Jays!   

Woodlink 3 in 1 Tray Feeder  View Today's Price


For a LIVE view of my feeders and bird feeding station, click HERE!


Other feeders that work well at attracting jays are certain hopper feeders, platform feeders, and peanut feeders. If all else fails, just throw food on the ground! Trust me; the jays won’t mind. 🙂


Strategy #2: Offer an irresistible buffet!


Now that you have a bird feeder that Blue Jays will use, it’s time to fill it with their favorite foods!


In the wild, Blue Jays eat a variety of foods. The list includes nuts and seeds (especially acorns), fruits, invertebrates, and occasionally nestlings and eggs.


But at your feeders, there a few common foods that jays can’t resist.


Specifically, my three favorite foods that attract Blue Jays include:


  • Sunflower seeds: It doesn’t matter whether it’s Black-oil sunflower or striped sunflower, nor whether the sunflower seed is in the shell or out. Blue Jays love eating sunflower!  View $ on Amazon


  • Peanuts: Jays eat peanuts both in the shell and out. In fact, they are one of the few birds that can crack open a hard peanut shell. It’s a lot of fun to watch Blue Jays come to my feeding station and fly off with a mouthful.

attract blue jays

  • Corn: Jays will eat cracked corn or the whole kernel. I’d love to know how many kernels they can fit in their mouth and throat sac. I’ve counted a single bird take at least ten at one time!


I hope it’s evident that to attract Blue Jays, you are going to need to combine Strategy #1 and #2. This is because you could set out a mix of sunflower, peanuts, and corn, but if you put the food into a bird feeder that is too small, the jays can’t fit on the feeder and will just have to eat what falls to the ground.


And if you have a large, platform feeder but don’t fill it with their favorite foods, jays may decide to search for food elsewhere.


Strategy #3: Create a natural habitat in your backyard.


Because of their intelligence and big personality, Blue Jays are one of the most interesting and entertaining species that I enjoy watching in my backyard. It’s fun seeing them at our feeders, but I also like observing them mob invading birds of prey, imitating hawks, and flying back and forth across our swamp. It hasn’t happened yet, but I want them to nest and raise their babies on my property.


If you want Blue Jays attracted to your yard for reasons other than the food you provide, then you need to create a habitat they WANT to visit.


Blue Jays are naturally forest birds, and large trees provide them shelter and places to nest. If you are not lucky enough to live near the woods, then I’d recommend planting some native trees and shrubs in your backyard.

attracting blue jays with native plants

Planting oak or beech trees is a great way to attract Blue Jays.


This is because acorns and beechnuts are an essential part of a jays diet. And in my opinion, both of these tree’s are also beautiful additions to any landscape.


For a complete list of tree’s, shrubs, and other plants that are native to your area and attract Blue Jays, check out the below search tool from the National Audubon Society:


Strategy #4: Provide water all year long!


Lots of people hang up bird feeders in their backyard. But for varying reasons, not many people decide to provide water for birds in a heated bird bath. And those that do typically don’t keep the water fresh or clean.


This is unfortunate. 🙁


Blue Jays need fresh water to drink daily and love splashing around in a bird bath. Seriously, finding water is a matter of life and death for birds, especially when the weather drops below freezing and many natural water sources are frozen.


Final Thoughts and Conclusion


I think Blue Jays can get a bad reputation as a “bully” bird. It’s true they can scare away other birds at the feeder, but typically they eat peacefully alongside everyone else.


As I plan out the foods and feeders that I use at my bird feeding station, I make sure to think about how to attract Blue Jays. They will always be one of my favorite birds!


To summarize the best ways to attract Blue Jays to your backyard, just make sure to offer their favorite foods (sunflower, corn, peanuts) on large and open feeders, provide a consistent water source, and have nearby native tree’s, and you should have no problem attracting these feisty, smart, and beautiful birds!


What tips do you have for attracting Blue Jays?

16 responses to “Attract Blue Jays With These 4 SIMPLE Strategies (2020)”

  1. Cindy Lewis says:

    You’re awesome Pete! 🙏🏻🐦

  2. Kari says:

    Our blues get along with cardinals, woodpecker and our squirrels. They all know they have food and water here and they share with no problem. We leave out peanuts for them, all kinds of raw nuts for squirrels, sunflower seeds for everyone and fruits/veggies also. Our backyard is one big happy family!

  3. Jason says:

    My wife and I had recently been setting up our backyard for bird watching and had a lot of issues with european starlings at first.
    After being told to just kill them because they are an invasive, nuisance species and being terrified at the idea I did a lot of research and solved the problem by buying one weighted feeder that we put the small cracked food in. Then got larger uncracked feed like sunflowers peanuts and whole kernal corn.
    Within a day the starlings gave up and have not been back since.
    Another major positive side effect was that the new feed started attracting tons of beautiful Bluejays and other birds from the bird reserve/wetlands next door to our house.
    I am a photography hobbies and my favorite subject is birds of all kinds. It has been amazing watching the huge variety of birds that feed here every day.

  4. Susan Gang says:

    I’m another Minnesota birdwatcher who wants blue jays (I can hear them, but they don’t visit my yard). I have a manageable squirrel population but the options above all seem too inviting for them to bring all their buddies. Please address this or tell us you have found a haven sans squirrels!

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you for your generosity sharing all these very useful details.

  6. Candace says:

    Enjoyed your articles! I live in the city and have seen cardinals, red crested woodpeckers, gold finches, sparrows, wrens, and blue jays. I’d love to put out a tray on the ground for them bc they are gorgeous! Like the other commentator, how do you prevent squirrels from eating all their food? Here in Minneapolis, there are tons of squirrels. Please help! Thank you!

  7. Komal says:

    What are your suggestions to keep squirrels from eating all these goodies?

  8. J. MacMillan says:

    Hi. Chiming in two years later. Just wanted share I felt like I was reading my journal when you describe what blue Jay’s represent for you. Very special bird indeed!

  9. Joshua says:

    i tamed a wild blue jay. It lets me touch him and examine him

  10. Celia Bolf says:

    Thank you for the information! I love blue jays and certainly want to attract them to my yard. I will follow your advice and am very grateful to you for taking time to assist other jay lovers!

  11. Mark Storti says:

    ¹Thank you for the information. By accident we ended up establishing a flat feeder to defeat the raccoons who constantly destroyed our other types of bird feeders. We now have flocks of Jay’s, cardinals, black capped , woodpeckers, nuthatches and other birds

  12. Gary says:

    Hello blue jay lovers , I have found out that blue jays love oatmeal , I put a pile of instant Quaker oatmeal on a platform birdfeeder and they love it , and the flavored instant oatmeal

  13. Pete says:

    Hi Denise, thank you for taking the time to help us Blue Jay lovers at loving them the way that they wanna be loved. My story is that I too have recently lost someone very special to me. I have been so distraught that I’ve been camping out in my driveway for the past two months. It just so happens that I’m also underneath a tree and my neighbors above are a gorgeous pair of Blue Jays and their nestlings. I am learning so much as a 24 hour a day observer and the process is helping me to heal. I have plenty of interesting stories if anyone wants to hear. Thanks much! Pete.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for sharing Pete. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like we each have a lot of stories about the Blue Jays, very interesting birds!

  14. Denise W says:

    Hi there! Just found your live feeder and blogs, very nice! I currently have camera’s (logi circle 2’s) set up in my yard for my private viewing pleasure (birds, deer, and other wildlife). If the camera is a foot away it picks up a nice image of birds, but I can’t really view the group of feeder like your camera is. Can you tell me how far away your camera is positioned from your feeders?

    Thank you again for the blog and live feeders, I enjoy them!


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