How to Get Rid of Blue Jays at Bird Feeders

Free up feeders for your small songbirds by learning how to get rid of blue jays. One idea is to give blue jays their own bird feeder!

Tips to Get Rid of Blue Jays

blue cardinalCourtesy Pam Garcia
Blue jays can be aggressive birds

Yes, they’re beautiful and recognizable, but blue jays are known for causing a ruckus at feeders. They are exceptionally smart, so it’s not easy to trick them with fancy jay-proof feeders. The best bet for how to get rid of blue jays is to give them space and a feeder of their own. Serve peanuts in a feeder or put sunflower seeds in a large hopper feeder in an isolated area.

“I call blue jays ‘beautiful bully birds’ because they can empty a peanut feeder in less than an hour. I use a caged peanut feeder to allow only smaller birds, like chickadees, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers, to feed. The jays get their own cage-free peanut feeder,” says Deanna Frautschi, Bloomington, Illinois.

Another tip to get rid of blue jays is to feed nyjer thistle seed. Blue jays, like lot of bully birds, tend to leave this seed alone, but finches love it.

Learn how to get rid of blackbirds and grackles at feeders.

Blue Jays: Friend or Foe?

JohnpizniurbluejayCourtesy John Pizniur
Blue jay eating an acorn

Readers sound off on the vibrant blue birds that sometimes cause a ruckus.

Even though they are kind of rowdy, I enjoy putting peanuts out for them. And blue is my favorite color! Karen Larsen, Viborg, South Dakota

Foe! They are aggressive and gobble up the birdseed in every feeder. Terri Heacock, Fairview, North Carolina

Johnpiznuirbluejay2Courtesy John Piznuir

Blue jays don’t play well with others, but it’s fun to watch them pick up peanuts still in the shell and lay them back down, as if they are deciding which one has the most payload. Jeff Vriezema , Wyoming, Michigan

Starlings, grackles, blue jays and the odd magpie come to my feeders and also stop for water. Instead of discouraging them, I spread several feeders full of different types of seed around the backyard. Ken Orich, Lethbridge, Alberta.

what do blue jays eatCourtesy Linda Taylor
Peanut feeder for blue jays

I love blue jays and their obnoxious screech. Jannetta Tibbs, Albany, Oregon

Definitely friends. Every morning the jays wait for our blinds to open. They know their treat of sunflower seeds and peanuts will arrive soon on our deck. Daphne Johnson, Niagara Falls, Ontario

We try to accommodate all of the birds, but it seems that in different circumstances any bird can be a bully! My mourning doves are the bullies of the tray feeder. And I’ve even seen a titmouse chase Carolina wrens from the mealworms. Boni Trombetta, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Next, meet 8 types of jays you should know.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.