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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Feeder Do You Recommend for Blue Jays?

The blue jays have discovered my feeding station. Do you recommend whole peanuts, shells and all, or just the de-shelled peanuts. They are so big that I'm thinking I need a different feeding station for them and am thinking of either a bigger platform or the blue jay nut holder thing.

Blue Jays eat fruit, nuts, berries, seeds, and suet. However if you offered a buffet, their first choice would be peanuts in the shell. I can recommend the peanut wreaths, large mesh peanut pantry, or tray feeders to hold the whole peanuts. Just remember you should fill them only when you’re there to watch because a party of blue jays can empty a feeder in less than an hour. But boy, during that hour it’s like watching a blue tornado.

The blue jays usually send out scouts to alert the band when food is available. One benefit of all that noisy calling is that it alerts other birds too, that there is food in the area.

As the jays prepare for winter they will cache or hide nuts up to 2.5 miles from their original source and retrieve them when needed.

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.

That’s a lot of nuts! If you’re looking for something to last a little longer, the nutty seed cylinders, suet cakes, and birdie bells last two to four weeks and feed the jays as well as attract several other species of birds. I like to use these. I treat the jays and squirrels with peanuts in the shell occasionally on my tray feeder but I'm pretty lazy and prefer filling feeders less frequently.

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