My family loves watching Blue Jays visit our bird feeders!
Frequently heard before seen, jays typically don’t stay long at our feeding station. Once they land, they quickly take a whole peanut or fill their throat with sunflower seeds and fly off again.
Unfortunately, because of a Blue Jay’s relatively large size (9-12 inches long) and feeding preferences, they won’t use certain types of bird feeders.
For example, a typical tube feeder that features small perches next to feeding ports will NOT be used commonly by jays. They have a tough time fitting their body onto the perch and twisting around to eat.
So I thought I’d share the 4 BEST Blue Jay feeders that I own and use.
But before we begin, I think it’s important to address one question:
What do Blue Jays eat?
At your bird feeders, Blue Jays are fond of eating peanuts (both shelled and unshelled), sunflower seeds, and corn. In nature, they eat a wide variety of foods depending on what is available, but they are known to feed on acorns, insects, and fruit. Interestingly, Blue Jays will even raid the nests of other birds to eat their eggs or nestlings.
This tray feeder made by Woodlink is arguably my favorite feeder to use for Blue Jays.
The simple, open design is desirable to jays (and many other birds). The large surface area provides them with lots of room to land and find their food.
This tray feeder is versatile and can be used in three different ways. It can be hung, permanently attached to a pole mount, or laid on the ground (which is how I use it).
Check out the tray feeder in action below! The short video clip shows Blue Jays filling their throat with sunflower and corn.
Woodlink 3 in 1 Tray Feeder View $ on Amazon
For a LIVE view of my feeders and bird feeding station, click here.
By placing the tray on the ground, it also provides a great way to feed other birds that prefer feeding on the ground. Not to mention it gives mammals, like squirrels and raccoons, a place to eat which helps keep them from trying to reach your bird feeders!
Here are a few other things that I like about the Woodlink tray feeder:
- It has a mesh bottom so water drain outs, which helps the food dry faster and last longer.
- I have found it to be durable. Ever since I bought the tray about two years ago, it has been sitting outside in the unpredictable Ohio weather, and it’s still going strong.
- Birds and other animals feel extremely comfortable on tray feeders. I have seen everything using it; crows, cardinals, sparrows, chipmunks, rabbits, opossums, etc.
Droll Yankees Platform Feeder View $ on Amazon
This platform feeder made by Droll Yankees does an excellent job of satisfying Blue Jays. The wide (13″ diameter), deep plastic platform holds about a quart of seed and provides a large area for jays to land and feed.
The top plastic dome helps a bit to keep water and snow off the food, but don’t expect your food to be dry after rain. Luckily, the plastic tray has small holes to allow moisture to drain.
The dome is adjustable. Too attract Blue Jays, you need to make sure it’s not too low, or they won’t be able to fit! But the fact the dome can be lowered makes the feeder versatile in case you want to provide a place that only small birds can use.
I like that the durable, smooth plastic is EASY to clean. There are no hard to reach places where food and waste can accumulate. Simply spraying with the hose typically gets the job done!
If you view the full description on Amazon, you will see the feeder is named the “Dorothy’s Cardinal Feeder.” It’s called this because the feeder is also great at attracting Northern Cardinals. You will find that Blue Jays and cardinals tend to prefer similar feeders. (For the record, these are two of my favorite birds!)
3. Tube Feeder WITH Attached Tray
I know what you are thinking.
“Scott, I thought you said tube feeders are not a great option for Blue Jays!”
Yes, I did say that. So why am I now recommending a tube feeder?
Well, tube feeders can be great for jays, but one slight adjustment is required.
You need to attach a tray to the bottom!
In my feeding station, I combine tube feeders with attachable trays, both made by Droll Yankees. The trays are incredibly easy to fasten to the bottom and typically don’t even require tools.
My tube feeders are probably the most popular in my backyard now that they have an area where larger birds can land and eat.
- Related article: Create A Bird Feeding Station in 7 Simple Steps!
Here is the information regarding the tubes and trays that I am currently using:
Tube Feeders – Both made by Droll Yankees:
Trays – can be used on either Droll Yankee tube feeder above:
*I see Blue Jays using both size trays, but they seem to prefer the bigger one.*
Songbird Essentials Peanut Wreath View $ on Amazon
Peanut wreaths are one of the best Blue Jays feeders to use when you want to have your birds work a bit for their food!
Just fill the wreath from the top with whole peanuts. The metal wiring is strong enough to hold peanuts in place but flexible enough that jays can pull them out to eat.
Once Blue Jays discover the delicious peanuts hidden inside the wreath, they can’t resist visiting every day.
Typically, I avoid putting this peanut feeder out during the summer months when I have a lot of grackles hanging around my yard. Grackles also love peanuts, and a big flock can empty the wreath in less than a day! During winter the Blue Jays don’t have as much competition for the peanuts and are usually joined by titmice and chickadees.
No matter which Blue Jay feeders you ultimately choose, remember they need to be filled with peanuts, sunflower seeds, or corn because these foods work best at drawing jays to your yard.
But providing the correct type of feeder is only the first step in attracting jays. To read how to turn your backyard into a bird paradise, try reading this article:
The four bird feeders listed above work well at attracting many different bird species, not just jays! Specifically, a quality tray feeder and tube feeder are essential for any bird feeding station.
What are the best feeders you have used for Blue Jays?
Good luck! Soon enough you should be enjoying these highly charismatic and intelligent birds all the time in your backyard. Maybe you can even train them to land on your hand?