How To Keep Blue Jays Out Of Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

If you’re an avid bird watcher, then you know how frustrating it can be when blue jays dominate your bird feeders. While they are beautiful birds to observe, their aggressive behavior towards other species and tendency to hog the feeder can quickly become a nuisance. As an avian behavior specialist, I have spent years studying the habits of various bird species and have found effective ways to keep blue jays out of bird feeders.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why blue jays are attracted to bird feeders in the first place. These birds are known for their love of nuts and seeds, which is exactly what most bird feeders offer. Additionally, they tend to be territorial and will defend a food source vigorously against other birds. This means that once they discover your feeder, they will likely return again and again. However, there are simple steps you can take to discourage them from dominating your feeder and allow other species to enjoy some nourishment too.

Understanding Blue Jay Behavior

Did you know that Blue Jays are one of the most common birds in North America? They have a distinctive blue crest, wings and tail feathers with white underparts. According to research on their behavior, they are highly vocal and use various calls to communicate with each other such as screams, whistles and rattles. These vocalizations can be heard from up to 1/4 mile away!

Blue jays are known for being territorial birds. During nesting season, which typically runs from March through July, they become even more aggressive towards other birds who come too close to their territory. This is when they may start showing up at your bird feeders! It’s important to understand this aspect of their behavior when trying to keep them out of your feeder.

Another factor to consider is the Blue Jay’s nesting habits and migration patterns. They tend to nest in trees or shrubs around residential areas where there are plenty of food sources available. In fall, many Blue Jays migrate southward in search of warmer climates. If you live in an area where they spend winter months, it’s likely they will be frequent visitors to your yard.

To summarize, understanding Blue Jay behavior is key when attempting to keep them away from your bird feeders. Their territorial nature during nesting season along with their tendency to seek out easily accessible food make them prime candidates for visiting backyard feeders frequently throughout the year. Next step – choosing the right feeder design!

Choosing The Right Feeder Design

When it comes to keeping blue jays out of bird feeders, choosing the right feeder design is crucial. The wrong type of feeder can actually attract more of these birds rather than deter them. To avoid this, consider material options for your feeder. For example, metal or wire mesh designs tend to be less appealing to blue jays since they are unable to grip onto them easily.

Placement considerations also play a significant role in deterring blue jays from accessing your bird feeders. Avoid placing the feeder near trees or bushes where these birds typically perch and wait for their next meal. Instead, opt for open areas that are difficult for blue jays to approach without being detected by other birds.

Additionally, selecting a feeder with smaller perches will make it harder for larger birds like blue jays to access the food while allowing smaller birds easy access. A baffle or dome on top of the feeder can further help keep out unwanted visitors.

Overall, when choosing a feeder design to discourage blue jay activity, remember that simplicity is key. By minimizing features such as large perches and complex designs, you reduce the attractiveness of your feeder to blue jays and increase its appeal to other songbirds.

To ensure success in keeping blue jays away from your bird feeders, it’s important not only to choose the right design but also select appropriate food options.

Selecting The Right Food

I always recommend selecting the right type of seed to use in bird feeders, as some varieties can be more attractive to blue jays than others. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of where the feeder is placed, as blue jays tend to prefer feeders in more open, exposed areas. I’d suggest using thistle, safflower, and sunflower seeds, as they’re generally the least attractive to blue jays. Lastly, if you’re having issues with blue jays, try moving the feeder to a more covered area.

Seed Types

Are you frustrated with blue jays hogging your bird feeders and scaring away other birds? Well, fear not! As an avian behavior specialist, I am here to offer some advice on how to keep those pesky blue jays at bay. Let’s start with the basics of selecting the right food – seed types.

One option for deterring blue jays is by offering safflower seeds. Blue jays are not particularly fond of these seeds due to their bitter taste. However, many other birds enjoy them including cardinals, chickadees, and finches. It’s a win-win situation as you’ll be able to attract a variety of feathered friends while keeping the blue jays at bay.

Another alternative that may work is shelled peanuts. While it’s true that blue jays love peanuts, they prefer ones that require more effort such as unshelled or in-shell peanuts. Shelling them beforehand will discourage the blue jays from making a mess around your feeder area and allow smaller songbirds easier access without interference.

It’s important to note that simply changing up the type of seed you offer may not completely solve the problem if there are still ample opportunities for blue jays to steal from your feeder. Be sure to also consider implementing physical barriers such as cages or baffles to protect against larger birds like the blue jay who can easily reach into most standard bird feeders.

In conclusion, incorporating different seed types such as safflower seeds and shelled peanuts along with protective measures can significantly reduce unwanted visits from blue jays while still attracting other beloved backyard birds. Remember, understanding what birds like (and dislike) can go a long way in creating a peaceful coexistence between our feathered friends at our feeders!

Feeder Placement

Now that we’ve covered seed types, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of bird feeding – feeder placement. As an avian behavior specialist, I have observed how important the location of your feeders can be in attracting certain birds and deterring others.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand bird behavior when placing your feeders. Some species such as finches prefer hanging feeders while ground-feeding birds like doves will require a tray or platform feeder. Additionally, keep in mind that some birds are more comfortable feeding out in the open while others may prefer cover from nearby trees or bushes.

Secondly, maintaining clean and tidy feeding areas is key to both attracting desired species and discouraging unwanted ones. Regular cleaning of your feeders not only prevents mold growth but also removes any leftover seeds that could attract rodents or other pests. A messy feeding area is also likely to draw attention from larger birds like blue jays who are attracted by food scraps left behind.

Lastly, consider using multiple smaller feeders instead of one large one. This strategy allows for different seed types to be offered at each station, catering to various bird preferences while reducing competition between them. It also helps spread out the activity around your yard rather than having all birds flocking to one central location.

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In conclusion, understanding bird behavior and proper feeder maintenance go hand-in-hand with selecting the right type of food for our feathered friends. The location and cleanliness of our feeders play a vital role in creating a welcoming environment for desirable species while keeping pesky visitors away. Remember, taking these steps ensures a peaceful coexistence amongst backyard wildlife!

Timing Your Feeding Schedule

Now that you have taken the necessary steps to make your bird feeder less appealing to blue jays, it’s time to consider your feeding schedule. Frequency control is crucial in deterring these birds from taking over your bird feeder.

It’s recommended that you fill up your bird feeders early in the morning and later in the afternoon. This will avoid attracting blue jays during their peak activity hours, which are generally mid-morning and late afternoon. By limiting their access to food during these periods, they’re more likely to seek out other sources of sustenance.

Weather considerations should also be taken into account when planning your feeding schedule. Blue jays tend to be more active on sunny days, so it’s best to limit feeding during this time. On rainy or snowy days, however, there may be fewer opportunities for them to find food elsewhere, making it a good time to offer some nourishment.

By being mindful of both frequency and weather conditions, you can effectively reduce the chances of blue jays overtaking your bird feeder. In the next section, we’ll discuss using physical deterrents as an additional measure for keeping these birds at bay.

Using Physical Deterrents

I recommend using physical deterrents such as covering bird feeders, using motion-activated devices, and hanging reflective objects to keep blue jays away from bird feeders. These methods have been proven to be effective in discouraging blue jays from feeding at a bird feeder. Covering bird feeders will help keep the birds away from the seed, while motion-activated devices can scare them away when they approach. Hanging reflective objects can startle the birds and make them think twice about getting close to the feeder. All of these methods are easy to implement and should be effective in keeping blue jays away.

Cover Bird Feeders

Let’s talk about one of the most effective physical deterrents – covering bird feeders. As an avian behavior specialist, I have seen DIY covers made from a variety of materials such as mesh or chicken wire work wonders in keeping blue jays away from your bird feeders. These covers prevent larger birds like blue jays from accessing the seeds while still allowing smaller birds to come and go freely.

When creating your own DIY cover, it is important to use effective materials that will stand up against harsh weather conditions and persistent birds. Opting for durable materials like PVC pipes or metal rods can be beneficial in preventing any damage caused by these feathered creatures, ensuring longevity and effectiveness.

In addition to providing protection for your bird feeder, a well-crafted cover also adds visual interest to your garden. With so many options available online or at hardware stores, you can easily find instructions on how to create a unique design that complements your backyard decor while keeping pesky blue jays at bay.

Using a DIY cover might take some time and effort but will prove worthwhile once you see the results. So why not give it a try? Your feathered friends will thank you!

Use Motion-Activated Devices

Now, let’s move on to another effective physical deterrent – using motion-activated devices. As an avian behavior specialist, I have seen firsthand how these types of devices can effectively keep blue jays away from bird feeders.

There are different types of devices available in the market today that use infrared sensors to detect movement and activate a loud noise or spray of water. These sounds and sprays startle birds like blue jays and deter them from coming back to your feeder.

Placement is key when using motion-activated devices. It’s important to place them strategically where blue jays usually perch or land before accessing your bird feeder. This could be on nearby trees or bushes, near windowsills, or even directly on top of the feeder itself.

Using motion-activated devices may take some getting used to for both you and your feathered friends, but it is a humane way to discourage pesky blue jays from dominating your bird feeding station. Give it a try along with other physical deterrents and see which works best for your backyard visitors!

Hang Reflective Objects

As an avian behavior specialist, I am often asked for alternative deterrents to keep blue jays away from bird feeders. One effective method that has proven successful is hanging reflective objects near your feeding station. These shiny and moving objects can disorient birds like blue jays, making it difficult for them to access the feeder.

Reflective objects can be easily made with DIY materials such as old CDs or aluminum pie plates. Hang these items on nearby trees or bushes using string or wire so that they can sway in the wind and catch the sunlight. This movement and light reflection will create a confusing environment for blue jays, ultimately discouraging them from visiting your feeder.

Although hanging reflective objects may not work immediately, it is a humane way to discourage pesky blue jays without causing harm. It’s also important to note that combining this physical deterrent with other methods such as motion-activated devices or changing up the type of food you offer can increase its effectiveness.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an inexpensive and easy-to-make physical deterrent for blue jays, try hanging reflective objects near your bird feeding station. Not only is this a humane option compared to harmful repellents, but it also adds some fun and creativity to your backyard setup!

Creating A Distraction Feeder

Have you ever considered creating a DIY distraction feeder to keep blue jays away from your bird feeders? As an avian behavior specialist, I have found that birds are easily distracted by alternative feeding options. By setting up a separate station for blue jays, they may be less likely to disrupt the other bird species visiting your primary feeder.

To create a distraction feeder, start by finding a suitable location away from your main feeder. This could be a tree branch or pole where you can hang another type of feeder filled with food specifically chosen for blue jays. Consider using peanuts or sunflower seeds as these are known favorites of this particular bird species.

It’s important to note that while the goal is to distract blue jays, it’s still essential to choose high-quality food options and maintain cleanliness in both feeders. In addition to preventing potential diseases, keeping both feeders clean will also encourage other bird species to visit.

By providing alternative feeding options through a DIY distraction feeder, you can help prevent Blue Jays from monopolizing all the seed at your primary birdfeeder. Additionally, encouraging other bird species to visit is beneficial not only for their own survival but also creates a more diverse and enjoyable backyard viewing experience for us humans.

Encouraging Other Birds To Visit

Now that you’ve created a distraction feeder, it’s important to encourage other birds to visit your yard. This can help deter blue jays from monopolizing the bird feeders and provide a more diverse and enjoyable bird-watching experience.

One way to attract other birds is by planting flowers in your yard. Different species of birds are attracted to different types of flowers, so do some research on which plants are native to your area and will appeal to various birds. For example, hummingbirds love brightly colored tubular flowers while finches prefer sunflowers or thistle.

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Another effective method is providing nesting materials for birds. This includes items such as twigs, grasses, feathers, and even pet hair. These materials can be placed in mesh bags or hung up in small bundles around your yard. By offering these resources, you’ll create an inviting habitat that encourages birds to stay longer and potentially make their homes nearby.

It’s essential not only to implement these strategies but also monitor them regularly. Observing which techniques work best for attracting certain bird species can help adjust your methods accordingly. You may find that certain plants don’t attract the desired variety of birds or that particular nesting material isn’t being utilized effectively. Continuously adjusting your strategy based on observations will ultimately lead to success in keeping blue jays out of bird feeders.

As we continue exploring ways to keep blue jays away from bird feeders, monitoring and adjusting our approach will ensure its effectiveness over time. By creating distractions with alternative feeding stations and encouraging a variety of bird species with flowers and nesting materials, we’re already taking significant steps towards achieving this goal. Now let’s focus on fine-tuning our efforts through careful observation and experimentation!

Monitoring And Adjusting Your Strategy

As you continue to observe and monitor your bird feeders, it’s important to adjust your strategy accordingly. One effective method is adjusting the placement of your feeders. Blue jays are known for being aggressive at feeding stations, so moving them away from trees or bushes where they can easily perch and dominate may deter their presence.

Another tactic is using sound deterrents. While some birds may be frightened by loud noises, others become accustomed to them over time. However, strategically placed wind chimes or a motion-activated device that emits high-pitched sounds when triggered could startle blue jays enough to keep them away from your feeder.

It’s also important to consider the type of food you’re offering in your feeder. Sunflower seeds are a favorite among many types of birds, including blue jays. Try incorporating alternative foods such as safflower seeds or peanuts – which blue jays aren’t particularly fond of – into your mix.

In addition to these strategies, take note of what times during the day blue jays tend to visit most frequently. If possible, try removing the feeder during those peak hours and replacing it later on when other birds are more likely to come around. With patience and persistence in monitoring and adjusting your tactics, you’ll soon find success in keeping blue jays out of your bird feeders.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

As an avian behavior specialist, I can tell you that training blue jays to stay away from bird feeders is not impossible. However, it requires a deep understanding of their behavior and the right training methods. Blue jays are intelligent birds with strong memories and habits, so repetition and consistency are key in any training regimen. Some effective techniques involve creating negative associations with certain stimuli or using positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors. While eliminating access to bird feeders altogether may seem like an easy solution, it’s important to remember that blue jays play a vital role in our ecosystem as seed dispersers and insect predators. By employing humane training methods, we can encourage them to seek out other food sources while still allowing them to thrive in their natural habitat.

Are There Any Scents Or Repellents That Can Keep Blue Jays Away From Bird Feeders?

As an avian behavior specialist, I have studied the tendencies of blue jays and their frequent visits to bird feeders. While there is no guaranteed method to keep them away, there are natural alternatives and homemade solutions that may help. Some gardeners swear by planting herbs like lavender or mint near their bird feeders as a deterrent for blue jays. Additionally, some people use citrus peels or essential oils such as peppermint or clove on the feeder itself to discourage these birds from feeding. It’s important to remember that each bird has its own unique personality and behaviors, so it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your particular situation.

Do Blue Jays Only Eat Birdseed, Or Will They Eat Other Foods At Bird Feeders?

As an avian behavior specialist, I can tell you that blue jays are not picky eaters when it comes to bird feeders. While their diet primarily consists of nuts and seeds found in wooded areas, they will gladly indulge in the offerings at your backyard feeder. Unfortunately, this feeding behavior can have a negative impact on other bird species and wildlife in the area. Blue jays are known for being aggressive towards smaller birds, often scaring them away from the feeder or even attacking them for their food. To ensure a harmonious environment for all feathered friends, consider providing separate feeding stations for larger birds like blue jays while also implementing deterrents to keep them from dominating the entire space.

Can Planting Certain Plants Or Trees In The Area Deter Blue Jays From Visiting Bird Feeders?

Planting techniques and natural deterrents can be effective ways to discourage blue jays from visiting bird feeders. As an avian behavior specialist, I recommend planting trees or shrubs with thorny branches around the feeding area. Blue jays are less likely to visit areas that pose a threat to their safety. Additionally, consider incorporating plants that produce berries or nuts favored by blue jays away from the feeding area as a distraction. By implementing these planting techniques and natural deterrents, you can create a habitat more conducive for other birds while reducing the presence of blue jays at your bird feeder.

Is It Possible To Attract Blue Jays To A Different Area Of The Yard To Prevent Them From Accessing Bird Feeders?

Attracting blue jays to a different area of the yard can be an effective bird feeder alternative. As an avian behavior specialist, I recommend creating a separate feeding station for these beautiful birds with some of their favorite foods such as peanuts and sunflower seeds. Providing a water source nearby will also entice them to stay in that designated space. By doing this, you’ll not only prevent the blue jays from accessing other feeders but also create a new focal point for observing their unique behaviors and interactions with other backyard birds.


In conclusion, keeping blue jays away from bird feeders can be a challenge. However, there are several methods that may prove effective in deterring these birds from your backyard oasis. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.

As an avian behavior specialist, I recommend trying a combination of techniques such as using baffles or cages to protect the feeder, switching to safflower seeds which blue jays don’t typically prefer, and planting certain trees or shrubs that they tend to avoid. It’s also important to note that blue jays aren’t just after seed – they’ll eat other foods like peanuts and suet cakes too. Therefore, it might be worth considering offering them these alternative options in a different area of your yard to divert their attention away from the feeders.

Remember: patience is key when dealing with any wildlife behaviors. Keep experimenting until you find what works best for you and enjoy watching all the feathered visitors who come by!

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