Blue Jays are known for their cleverness and social behavior. Often times thought of as bullies because of their exuberant nature, they have a wide assortment of vocalizations and a rather large vocabulary. The birds are also excellent mimics. Extremely intelligent, they can recognize the faces of their human caretakers.
Jays are from 9 to 12 inches long from head to tail. Their cap and crest are grayish-blue. The wings and tail are bright blue with both white and black bands. They also have a narrow band of black around the throat and the head. The back feathering is bluish gray and is brightest on the rump. The interior breast, abdomen, and vent area are off-white. The beak, legs, feet, and eyes are black. Blue Jays have the ability to raise and lower the crest of feathers atop their head.
Their winter diet consists typically of vegetable material, acorns, beechnuts, seeds and berries. Throughout the year they will feed on insects and other bugs, grasshoppers and caterpillars, even mice and baby birds. They are frequently found robbing eggs and chicks from nests but only a very small fraction of their diet comes from these sources. In general, they are vegetarians and can be attracted to feeders with black oil sunflower seed.
Spreading your yard with whole peanuts will attract blue jays. Presenting them in a platform feeder is accommodating, but any flat surface will do. Lay down the nuts and then watch the blue jays system for acquiring the food. Jays can easily swallow a whole peanut, pick up one more and then depart. They are voracious eaters and will not stop at one, often attempting to grab several seeds or nuts before departing the area.
Having bird friendly bushes and trees that provide shelter and food sources like berries and nuts can attract a great variety of birds including Jays. You can attempt to attract these birds to nest in your backyard by placing a house 10 to 12 feet high. It could be in a tree, or on the side of a garage or shed. It should allow the birds access to both open spaces and foliage. Choose a position that provides shelter. It should protect the birds from predators, keep out rain and allow them easy access to necessities.
By following these ideas and creating a Blue Jay friendly area, you are sure to enjoy the company and sounds of Blue Jays for years to come.