Blue Jays can be dangerous predators for songbirds and have been known to steal hatchlings and eggs right out of the nest while scaring away smaller birds from feeders.
This type of behavior can be a nightmare for other birds and can be distressing for you to watch.
How can you keep Blue Jays away from a bird’s nest?
To keep Blue Jays away from a bird’s nest, provide nesting boxes for other birds to nest in that have small entry holes. This will allow small birds to enter and exit but deter birds like the Blue Jay, which will be too large to enter. Nesting boxes are also helpful for keeping away other predators.
The Best Way To Keep Blue Jays Away From a Bird’s Nest
The best way to keep Blue Jays away from a bird’s nest is to provide a nesting box for the smaller nesting birds, which should have a small enough entry that the Blue Jay cannot come inside.
Nesting boxes will keep away most other predators, too.
However, some predators, like snakes, may not be deterred by a nesting box, and you’ll need to place protective baffles around the nesting box post or tree trunk to keep them away.
How To Set Up a Nesting Box
You can either purchase or build a nesting box for small birds to prevent the young hatchlings from being stolen by predators like the Blue Jay.
These nesting boxes are especially helpful for birds who live in areas without other good nesting options.
If you remove dead and damaged trees from your property, this can make nesting boxes much more necessary for small birds.
Whether you purchase or build a nesting box, you’ll want to make sure that it’s made of untreated wood and that the walls are at least ¾ in (1.91 cm) thick for insulation.
Additionally, the hole should be small enough to keep out large birds while being large enough to allow the desired birds to enter, and the hole should be high enough from the floor to allow room for the nest.
Nesting boxes should also have a sloped roof to keep the rain away, with drainage holes in the floor to make sure that the nest stays dry.
They should also have ventilation holes to keep the inside cool and rough walls to make it easier for fledglings to leave the nest once they’re old enough.
The box should have no outside perches because they help bully birds gain access to the fledglings.
Once you’ve found or built a nesting box that meets these requirements, you should find a location to put it where the desired birds are likely to nest.
It can be placed on a tree or a pole and should be paired with a predator baffle to prevent cats, snakes, and other animals from accessing the nest by climbing.
Keep your nesting box away from any areas reached by pesticides or herbicides, and make sure that the box does not face the west.
West-facing boxes can become very hot due to the direct sunlight.
Why Do You Need To Keep Blue Jays Away From Bird’s Nests?
Blue Jays are beautiful birds, but they prey on the nests of other birds and will feed upon the eggs and hatchlings of other songbirds given the opportunity.
They usually do this to feed their mates or young at the expense of other birds.
Blue Jays are just one of the species that will raid birds’ nests, and there are many more that you need to look out for if you want to keep a set of hatchlings safe.
Other Predators To Watch Out For
Bird hatchlings are vulnerable to many predators, including Blue Jays. Other predators of small birds include crows, grackles, snakes, and cats.
Most of these predators reach the nest by climbing, so they can be kept at bay by placing a baffle around the tree where the nest is.
Should You Keep Blue Jays Away From a Bird Feeder?
Blue Jays like to eat fruit and seeds, as well as acorns and other nuts. They’re frequent visitors at most bird feeders, but they are often considered a nuisance because they’ll fight away smaller songbirds.
They will migrate to find food if it’s scarce, and can survive the winter without the assistance of a bird feeder, should you choose to keep them away.
The decision to keep Blue Jays away from your feeders is for you to make, but know that if you do, you’ll be opening up the feeder for use by a wider range of birds.
Other Bully Birds
Other birds that bully small songbirds include grackles, blackbirds, pigeons, house sparrows, and starlings.
These birds are all aggressive, and some are even invasive, like the pigeon, the European starling, and the house sparrow.
These birds are all larger than other birds, which can be used against them in the fight to keep your feeders free for small songbirds.
How To Keep Blue Jays and Other Bully Birds Away From a Feeder
Blue Jays are heavier than other birds, and so keeping them away can be as simple as getting a weight-activated feeder that closes doors to food when something heavy like a Blue Jay or a squirrel sits on it.
However, there are several other options. You can place a wide-mesh cage around your feeder that allows small songbirds through but not large birds like the Blue Jay.
Another way to keep them away from a bird feeder is to place bottles on the perches so that heavier birds roll off them. Smaller birds will be able to keep their balance on the bottles.
Some smaller birds don’t even need a perch to eat from a feeder, so some choose to remove perches entirely to discourage bully birds.
Even if you use the right feeders, you may find that Blue Jays start coming by to pick up fallen seeds on the ground beneath the feeder.
To protect against this, you can place a garbage can underneath the feeder to collect the dropped seed.
Blue Jays are unlikely to fly into a trash can for seed, and so they will be less tempted to come around.
Some bully birds, like starlings, are particularly drawn to suet, and keeping your suet available for other birds will require some protective strategies, which might include placing the suet feeder under a domed baffle and using an upside-down feeder.
Starlings don’t like going underneath the cover, and they aren’t able to hang on a feeder to eat upside down.
How Not To Deter Blue Jays
Some methods recommended for keeping away Blue Jays will keep away other birds, too, and are not recommended as Blue Jay control strategies.
These include playing music and hanging mirrors, which can scare away any bird.
Birds are easily startled by unusual noises, and they often mistake their reflections for other threatening birds.
How To Keep Insects Away From Bird Feeders
Insects and small pests are also a concern when it comes to keeping your backyard birds safe and happy.
Hummingbird feeders are especially prone to infestations from ants and bees, which can keep the birds away.
Your deterrent strategies mustn’t harm the birds that you’re trying to attract. So, common chemical deterrents for bees, wasps, and ants are not good choices.
Instead, try all-natural solutions that keep the pests away but are safe for birds.
These solutions include using a red saucer feeder like eWonLife Feeders, which is unattractive to bees and makes it hard for the ants to reach the nectar.
You can also use a fishing line to hang the feeder, which is difficult for ants to climb.
Moving a bird feeder is a good way to keep insects from invading, even if you only move them by 3 or 4 ft (0.91 or 1.22 m).
Birds will still be able to locate the feeders, but insects will be confused and lose track of the food source.
Even though they’re quite beautiful, Blue Jays are aggressive bully birds that make it difficult for small songbirds to thrive.
For this reason, it makes sense to keep Blue Jays away from other birds’ nests and even from feeders.
You can do this by setting up nesting boxes and by using special feeders that keep large birds from accessing seeds.