About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Question of the week: What do Blue Jays like to eat?

Blue Jays eat fruit, nuts, berries, seeds, and suet. At the feeder their first choice would be peanuts in the shell. In the wild, blue jays eat lots of different foods. Though they are primarily vegetarian they also will eat caterpillars, beetles and other small bugs. Rarely do they eat eggs and nestlings.

To prepare for harsh winter weather they will collect acorns and other tree nuts and cache or hide them up to 2.5 miles from their original source and retrieve them when needed.

This behavior of burying seeds has greatly helped with the range expansion of many oak species. The rapid northward dispersal of oaks after the ice age may have resulted from the northern transport of acorns by Jays.

In one research study, 50 Blue Jays were observed selecting and caching 150,000 acorns over a period of 28 days. Each bird cached a total of 3,000 acorns by selecting and hiding an average of 107 acorns per day.


tiny banquet committee said...

There are two bluejays who hang around my NYC fire escape and eat the peanuts I put out for squirrels. They're very aggressive birds and very amusing to watch - I had no idea peanuts were their favorite but this explains a lot!

Anonymous said...

Do they eat strawberries,grapes,ect

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Yes they eat a variety of fruits, nuts, and berries. This morning I was watching a couple tear into a piece of leftover banana bread.

Melinda Mann said...

do they eat other birds i saw one eating a sparrow

Stephen Laughlin said...

That must have been a Blue Meanie Jay, known to be perfectly horrid to the poor little Sparrows

Dave S. said...

A big Bluejay was getting pecans in the shell out of our pecan tree this morning and flying off; the pecans still had the green outer covering on them!

Jeanie said...

Today I was amazed while feeding the squirrels a Blue Jay swooped down and grabbed the peanut (in the shell). They waited on the top of the house and when the peanut hit the sidewalk, here they came. So now I put the peanuts on the porch for the squirrels and throw the peanuts when I see the Blue Jay's. But so glad you posted this, I too had no idea that Blue Jay's liked peanuts in the shell. Another bird species I will be taking care of this coming year.