How To Keep Blue Jays Away From Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of seeing blue jays bully other birds and hog all the birdseed? Blue jays can be beautiful to look at, but their aggressive behavior can disrupt the peaceful atmosphere around your bird feeders. Luckily, there are some effective ways to keep these feathered bullies away from your backyard.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why blue jays behave this way. Blue jays are omnivores and have a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are also social birds that live in groups or flocks. When they spot food, they will quickly alert their flock members by making loud calls, which attracts more blue jays to the area. This competitive behavior can result in them dominating the feeding station and driving away smaller birds. In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips on how to deter blue jays from monopolizing your bird feeders while still attracting a diverse range of bird species to enjoy.

Understanding Blue Jay Behavior

Blue jays are a common sight in many backyards, and their striking blue feathers and distinctive calls can be quite captivating. However, they are also known for causing trouble at bird feeders by scaring away smaller birds and gobbling up all the food. To understand how to keep blue jays away from your feeder, it’s important to first understand their behavior.

One key aspect of blue jay behavior is communication. They have numerous vocalizations that convey different messages, from warning others of predators to indicating where food sources are located. Blue jays also use body language to communicate with each other, such as puffing up their feathers when feeling threatened or displaying submissive postures during courtship rituals.

Another important factor is territorial behavior. Blue jays are fiercely protective of their perceived territory and will defend it against any potential threats, including other birds and even humans. This means that if they view your backyard as part of their territory, they may become aggressive towards other birds who try to enter or access the feeder.

Understanding these behaviors can help you develop strategies for keeping blue jays away from your bird feeder while still providing nourishment for other feathered friends. By creating multiple feeding stations throughout your yard instead of relying on one central location, you can encourage more peaceful sharing among various species without attracting too much attention from territorial blue jays.

Providing Multiple Feeding Stations

One effective way to keep blue jays away from your bird feeders is by providing multiple feeding stations. This can be achieved by placing several smaller feeders in different areas of your yard instead of one large feeder. By doing so, you’ll create a more dispersed feeding area that will make it harder for blue jays to dominate the food source.

Feeder placement is also crucial when setting up multiple feeding stations. It’s important to place them far enough apart so that birds don’t feel threatened or crowded while eating. Additionally, consider positioning some feeders closer to trees and bushes where smaller birds like finches and sparrows tend to gather. Blue jays are less likely to venture into these shaded areas, giving other birds a chance to eat without interference.

In addition to proper feeder placement, offering a variety of foods can help deter blue jays from monopolizing the feeders. These birds have a particular preference for certain seeds such as peanuts and sunflower seeds. Providing alternative options like millet or cracked corn may attract other species while making it less appealing for blue jays.

By implementing these strategies, you should notice fewer visits from blue jays at your feeders. However, if they persist in dominating the food source, using squirrel-proof feeders may be necessary.

Using Squirrel-Proof Feeders

One effective way to keep blue jays away from bird feeders is by using squirrel-proof feeders. These types of feeders are designed with mechanisms that prevent squirrels and other larger animals from accessing the food inside. This can also deter blue jays, who typically prefer open feeding areas where they can easily access the seeds.

When selecting a squirrel-proof feeder, look for models with features like weight-activated perches or metal cages surrounding the seed ports. These will prevent squirrels from jumping onto or chewing through the feeder to reach the food. Additionally, consider hanging the feeder at least 10 feet off the ground and away from any trees or structures that could serve as launch points for squirrels.

Cleaning tips are important to follow in order to maintain your squirrel-proof feeder’s effectiveness. Regularly remove old seeds and debris from inside the feeder using a brush or vacuum cleaner attachment. Also, be sure to periodically wash it with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly before refilling with fresh seed.

Squirrel proofing techniques may not completely eliminate blue jay visits, but they can certainly reduce their frequency. By investing in a high-quality squirrel-proof feeder and following proper cleaning protocols, you’ll create an environment less conducive to these birds’ feeding habits. In addition, this approach promotes diversity among backyard visitors, allowing other species a chance to enjoy your offerings.

To further discourage blue jays from feasting on your birdseed supply, try using feeders with smaller openings. Rather than large platforms or trays that allow easy access for various birds (including blue jays), opt for tube-style feeders with small ports that only accommodate smaller songbirds such as finches or chickadees.

These specialized feeders offer several benefits beyond deterring unwanted guests like blue jays. They help prevent food waste by controlling how much seed dispenses at once and provide more protection against moisture buildup that can spoil seed over time. Plus, they add a unique element to your backyard birdwatching experience by attracting species you may not have seen before.

Using Feeders With Smaller Openings

Using feeders with smaller openings can be an effective way to keep blue jays away from bird feeders. Not only do these types of feeders limit the size of birds that can access them, but they also make it harder for larger birds like blue jays to reach in and grab food.

When selecting a feeder with smaller openings, consider both the seed type and feeder design. Some seeds are easier for certain birds to access than others, so choose seeds that appeal more to smaller species like finches or chickadees rather than larger ones like blue jays. Additionally, look for feeders that have built-in baffles or other barriers that prevent large birds from reaching into the feeding ports.

It’s important to note that using feeders with smaller openings may not completely eliminate blue jay visits to your feeding area. However, by providing alternative feeding locations at different times of day, you can encourage blue jays to search elsewhere for food. Consider placing suet blocks or peanut butter-based feeds in areas away from your main feeding station during early morning hours when blue jays are most active.

By following these tips and utilizing feeders with smaller openings, you can greatly reduce the presence of blue jays at your bird feeding station. In the next section, we will explore another method for deterring these feathered visitors by planting blue jay-preferred foods away from your main feeding area.

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Planting Blue Jay-Preferred Foods Away From Feeders

While using feeders with smaller openings can be effective in keeping blue jays away from bird feeders, it may not always work. Blue jays are clever birds and can figure out a way to access the food if they really want to. This is why it’s important to explore other options that will deter them.

One option is creating barriers around your bird feeder. You could try installing wire mesh or fencing around the feeder so that the blue jays cannot get through. Alternatively, you could hang strips of shiny objects such as CDs or aluminum foil on strings around the feeder as this tends to scare them off.

Another approach is providing alternative habitats for blue jays away from your bird feeder. Consider planting trees and shrubs that produce nuts and berries that blue jays love. By doing this, you provide an attractive area for these birds elsewhere in your garden which will keep them occupied and less likely to bother your bird feeder.

Lastly, installing physical deterrents may also help keep blue jays at bay. You could try placing plastic predators such as owls near your birdfeeder as this sends a warning signal to the blue jays who might think twice about approaching it again.

By implementing any or all of these strategies, you should be able to effectively deter blue jays from taking over your bird feeder while still allowing other species to enjoy their meals uninterrupted. Now we’ll move onto discussing how installing physical deterrents can further enhance efforts towards keeping these pesky birds away from our feathered friends’ food supply!

Installing Physical Deterrents

Physical deterrents can be an effective way to keep blue jays away from bird feeders. DIY options include attaching reflective tape or hanging old CDs around the feeder, as the bright reflections may scare off the birds. Another option is to create a cage-like structure around the feeder with mesh wire, which will allow smaller birds to enter but prevent larger ones like blue jays from accessing it.

For those who prefer professional installation, there are commercial products available that use motion-activated sensors to startle birds and deter them from approaching the feeder. These devices emit loud noises or bursts of water when triggered by movement, making them effective at deterring not only blue jays but also other unwanted animals.

It’s important to note that physical deterrents should be used in conjunction with other methods of keeping blue jays away from bird feeders. For example, regularly cleaning up spilled seed and providing alternative food sources for blue jays elsewhere in your yard can help reduce their attraction to your feeder.

In addition, using natural repellents such as spicy chili peppers or citrus peels can further discourage blue jays from visiting your feeder. In the next section, we’ll explore these options in more detail.

Using Natural Repellents

I’m often asked how to keep blue jays away from bird feeders, and the answer is to use natural repellents. Plants like garlic, capsicum, and chrysanthemums are great for discouraging jays, as are spices like cayenne pepper. You can also try scented oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella, which can act as a natural deterrent. I recommend experimenting with different combinations to see which works best for you. Ultimately, using natural repellents can be an effective way to keep blue jays away from your bird feeders.


Picture a beautiful garden filled with lush greenery and vibrant flowers. Now imagine blue jays fluttering around, searching for their next meal at your bird feeder. As a wildlife expert or ornithologist, I recommend using natural repellents to keep these pesky birds away.

One of the best plants to use as a natural deterrent is the American Holly. This evergreen shrub produces bright red berries that blue jays cannot resist. However, they are toxic to the birds and will cause them discomfort if ingested. Another great option is the Barberry bush, which has thorny branches that make it difficult for blue jays to land on. Incorporating these plants into your garden not only keeps blue jays away but also adds aesthetic value.

When implementing planting strategies in your garden, consider placing these repellent plants near your bird feeders or other areas where you have noticed frequent activity from blue jays. Additionally, be mindful of seasonal changes when selecting and planting new vegetation. Some plants may lose their leaves or produce fewer berries during certain times of the year, so it’s important to choose ones that remain effective throughout all seasons.

In conclusion, incorporating natural repellent plants into your garden can effectively deter blue jays from feeding at your bird feeder while adding visual appeal to your outdoor space. By following proper gardening tips and considering seasonal changes, you can create a beautiful and functional landscape that keeps unwanted visitors away without causing harm to any animals.


Now that we have discussed the benefits of using natural repellent plants, let’s explore another effective method: spices. Spices are a great option for those who prefer homemade solutions and want to avoid using harmful chemicals in their garden. One commonly used spice is cayenne pepper. Blue jays cannot tolerate the strong taste or smell of this spice, so it serves as an excellent deterrent.

To use cayenne pepper as a bird repellent, simply mix a tablespoon of cayenne pepper with water and spray it on areas where you typically see blue jays. This can be done weekly or after rainfall to ensure its effectiveness. Another popular spice repellent is cinnamon powder. Similar to cayenne pepper, blue jays dislike the scent of cinnamon and will avoid any area with its presence.

When using spices as a natural repellent, it’s important to note that they may need to be reapplied more frequently than plant-based options. Rainfall and wind can quickly wash away the spices’ effectiveness, so keep an eye out for any signs of activity from blue jays and reapply accordingly.

Incorporating spices into your gardening routine not only keeps unwanted birds away but also adds unique scents to your outdoor space. By experimenting with different spice combinations and application methods, you can create a customized solution that works best for your specific needs while avoiding harm to any animals.

Overall, utilizing spices as a natural bird repellent provides endless possibilities for creating safe and effective homemade solutions in your garden. With proper application techniques and regular upkeep, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful outdoor space free from pesky blue jays without resorting to harmful chemicals or practices.

Scented Oils

Now that we have explored the benefits of using spices as a natural bird repellent, let’s discuss another effective method: scented oils. Scented oils are an excellent choice for those who want to create a pleasant aroma in their garden while keeping unwanted birds away. However, it is important to note that there are risks associated with using oils as a repellent.

The benefits of using scented oils include their long-lasting effectiveness and versatility. Oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus can be used on various surfaces including plants, fences, and structures without causing damage or harm to wildlife. Additionally, these oils provide a refreshing scent that can enhance the overall ambiance of your outdoor space.

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However, there are also risks involved in using scented oils as a repellent. Some essential oils may cause irritation or allergic reactions if they come into contact with skin or eyes. It is crucial to handle them carefully and follow safety guidelines when applying them to your garden. Furthermore, some animals may become accustomed to the smell over time and no longer be deterred by its presence.

To use scented oils as a natural bird repellent, mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and apply it regularly to areas where you typically see blue jays or other unwanted birds. Alternatively, you can place cotton balls soaked in oil near problem areas for continuous protection.

Incorporating scented oils into your gardening routine provides an opportunity for both repelling pesky birds and adding delightful fragrances to your outdoor space. By being aware of potential risks and following proper application techniques, you can enjoy all the benefits that this natural solution has to offer.

Observing Local Laws And Regulations

As bird enthusiasts, it is important to observe local laws and regulations when feeding birds in our backyard. Feeding wild birds can be a rewarding experience but we must also consider the environmental impact of our actions on wildlife.

Permit requirements vary depending on where you live. Some areas may require permits for feeding certain types of birds or for placing feeders in specific locations. It’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with these permit requirements before setting up your bird feeder.

When selecting a location for your feeder, choose an area that won’t negatively affect the environment. Avoid placing feeders near windows or reflective surfaces as this could cause fatal collisions for the birds. Opt instead to hang your feeder from a tree branch or pole at least six feet off the ground.

Remember to clean your feeder regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth which can harm both the birds and their surrounding habitat. Use eco-friendly cleaning products like vinegar and water to disinfect your feeder every few weeks.

Observing local laws and regulations ensures that we are not only providing food for our feathered friends but also protecting them and their ecosystem. As responsible stewards of nature, let us continue to make informed decisions about how we feed and care for wild birds in our communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Legal To Harm Or Kill Blue Jays If They Become A Nuisance?

As a wildlife expert, it is important to understand the legal implications of harming or killing blue jays if they become a nuisance. In most cases, these birds are protected by state and federal laws that prohibit their harm without proper permits. Instead of resorting to such measures, there are alternative solutions that can help keep blue jays away from bird feeders. These include using squirrel-proof feeders, placing feeders away from trees or other potential perches for blue jays, and providing separate feeding stations for different types of birds. By implementing these strategies, you can discourage blue jays from becoming a problem while still maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for all backyard birds.

Can Blue Jays Be Trained To Stay Away From Bird Feeders?

To prevent blue jays from becoming a nuisance around bird feeders, training methods and deterrents can be used. Training methods involve conditioning the birds to avoid certain areas or behaviors through positive or negative reinforcement techniques. For example, covering the feeder with mesh or placing it in an area that is difficult for blue jays to access will discourage them from attempting to feed there. Deterrents such as visual or auditory cues can also be effective in keeping blue jays away. However, it’s important to note that these measures should not harm or injure the birds, as they are protected under wildlife laws. As always, proper research and expert advice should be sought before implementing any strategies to deal with animal behavior issues.

How Do I Differentiate Between A Blue Jay And Other Birds That Visit My Feeder?

Bird identification can be a challenging task, especially when you have multiple bird species visiting your feeder. To differentiate between blue jays and other birds, look for their distinctive features such as the crest on their head, bright blue feathers on their wings, and black collar around their neck. Female blue jays are less vibrant but still recognizable with their sky-blue hue and white belly. Feeder placement also plays an important role in attracting specific bird species. Blue jays prefer platform feeders or ground feeding areas where they can easily access the food. With these tips in mind, identifying blue jays at your feeder will become easier than ever before!

Can Blue Jays Be Attracted To Other Areas Of My Yard To Keep Them Away From The Feeder?

Looking to attract blue jays away from your bird feeder? Consider incorporating outdoor decor and bird deterrents into your yard. Blue jays are known to be attracted to bright colors and shiny objects, so try adding a colorful birdbath or reflective wind chime to another area of your yard. Additionally, using bird deterrents such as predator decoys or owl statues may discourage them from hanging around the feeding area. However, it’s important to remember that blue jays are still valuable members of our ecosystem and should be appreciated for their unique characteristics and behaviors. Have you tried any of these methods in your own yard?

Are There Any Bird Feeders Specifically Designed To Attract Blue Jays?

Blue jays are a beautiful and intelligent bird species that can be found throughout North America. They prefer to inhabit woodlands, forests, and urban areas with plenty of trees. If you want to attract blue jays to your yard, it is important to create an environment that mimics their natural habitat. This includes providing them with food sources like nuts and seeds as well as offering nesting materials such as twigs and grasses. While there are no specific feeders designed just for blue jays, using natural deterrents like hanging shiny objects or creating noise around the feeder may help keep them away from other bird feeders in the area.


In conclusion, it is important to remember that harming or killing blue jays is not legal and should never be considered as an option. There are many humane ways to keep these birds away from your bird feeders while still allowing them to enjoy your yard.

One effective method is to provide alternative food sources for the blue jays in other areas of your yard, such as a separate feeding station with peanuts or sunflower seeds. This will help distract them from the main feeder and prevent them from dominating the area.

For example, I once worked with a homeowner who was having trouble keeping blue jays away from their feeder. We suggested placing a platform feeder on the opposite side of the yard filled with peanuts and suet. The blue jays were drawn to this new location and left the original feeder alone, allowing smaller birds to eat in peace. By implementing simple solutions like this, we can create a harmonious environment for all our backyard feathered friends.

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