3 crucial foods to feed Blue Jay in winter

Blue jays are beautiful birds. Wintertime’s spectacular sight of a flash of blue and a flurry of loud activity around your garden feeder is enough to lift the spirits on even the darkest of days. Keep reading to find out interesting habits of a blue jay in winter and how to help them to survive. 

Do blue jay migrate in winter and how do they survive?

Thousands of blue jays migrate, but not all of them. The blue beauties that do migrate travel down the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes regions to the southern part of their year-round range for the winter. Although young jays may migrate more frequently than adults, many adults also do so.

On the other hand, many blue jays decide against taking the simple trip down south during the winter and instead stay in cooler regions. To keep warm in harsh winter, they hunker down in trees and rely on biological miracles. The birds find evergreen plants such as American Holly, White Pine, Hemlock, and Red Cider to help them for surviving. 

Blue jays use a biological miracle to remain warm by fluffing their feathers when the temperature drops. For additional insulation, blue jays also secrete oil from their uropygial gland. The substance coats their tail feathers for added warmth and is located close to them. 

They also change their diet and eating habits when the existing sources of food become scarce during winter. In the next part, I will show you how you can feed bluejays to provide them with an easier life under harsh conditions.

Blue Jay in winter
Blue Jay in winter. Source: On the feeder

What do blue jays eat in the winter?

Most of the insects that make up a blue jay’s diet go into hibernation for the winter. They search deep during the winter for worms, beetles, larvae, and caterpillar eggs. There are some canned beetles or larvae in the supermarket or you can get these foods naturally in your garden or backyard. Additionally, they consume more acorns, seeds, and seasonal berries. 

Berry and seed diets are nutritious, but jays also need high-fat foods to use up the energy needed to stay warm. They won’t be able to resist if you put peanuts out at the feeder, and you’ll be helping them build up their energy stores. They adore whole peanuts in particular. The high-fat black-oil sunflower seed is another food item they consume. You can easily get peanuts and sunflower seeds from the supermarket or tree stores. 

Source: Songbirdhub

Besides, bird enthusiasts can feed blue jays with birdfeeders. There are some types of birdfeeders that can easily attract bluejays. Blue Jays can easily peck at the food thanks to the tube feeder, which permits seeds or grains to travel downward. The little birds can use it. 

Tray or platform feeders are your best bet if you’re searching for a feeder that can hold more and larger Blue Jays. This feeder allows birds to fly around freely and eat their favorite seeds. 

Installing a mealworm feeder in the winter can be a fantastic idea because bluejays eat too many mealworms. Mealworm feeders can be a little pricey because they are larger and let you feed ravenous appetites. You can buy mealworms in bird stores or fish shops. 

Here is the comparison of feeder nutrition that you can give to bluejays

Moisture  Protein Fat Fiber Ash Ca:P ratio
Larvae 64% 17% 11% 6% 5% variable
Mealworms 66% 18% 10% 2% 2% 1:7
Lesser mealworms (buffalo beetle larvae) 65% 19% 10% nd 2% nd
Giant mealworms nd 15% 17% nd nd 1:1
Mealworm beetles  63% 25% 7% 6% 2%  nd

Remember that all wild creatures require water. The same is true of blue jays. Offering a source of liquid water helps jays survive in winter when many water sources are frozen at this time.

Source: Birdwatchingbuzz

How to feed blue jays in the winter?

  • These birds are suspicious and will stay away from the installed feeders if people are nearby. Therefore, avoid sitting next to your feeder and instead observe these lovely birds from a window.
  • To support Blue Jays, be sure to construct a ground feeder. Alternatively, you may scatter some seeds on the ground to draw them in.
  • To support blue jays, you will need a ground bird feeder or a sizable bird feeder. As an alternative, you may scatter some seeds nearby to draw them in.
  • Acorns, corn, peanuts, and black oil sunflower seeds are favorites of blue jays.
  • Make sure there is a watering can in your yard so the birds can drink and take a bath.
  • These birds adore suet feeders in addition to grain and seed feeders.
  • Don’t forget to clean the bird feeder to stop food from clumping, mildew growth, and disease transmission.
  • Put your feeder close to a bush where birds can find a tree or cover. They will be able to eat while sitting down, which will make them feel secure and at ease utilizing your feeder.


Can blue jays survive in winter?

Extreme cold can be particularly difficult for wildlife, especially smaller birds with low body weights, to resist in areas of northern Canada and the United States that are part of a blue jay’s habitat. Around 50% of blue jays in one research study in the Upper Midwest, where winter lows reached -30°C (-22°F), did not make it through the season.

Where do blue jays go in the winter?

All of the American states east of the Great Plains and the southernmost parts of 10 Canadian provinces, especially in the east, have blue jays as year-round residents. 

Some populations in the far north of this range might move south down the Atlantic Coast every year. The range of blue jays stretches from middle Texas through the Gulf Coast to as far south as Florida.

Do jays store food for the winter?

In the autumn, blue jays spend a lot of time storing food. They are especially active in oak woodlands, where they search the ground for dropped acorns to bury for a future meal.

When naturally occurring food sources are depleted, cache locations are remembered and visited, but frequently, these acorn hoards are not collected and end up turning into oak trees. Blue jays also store beechnuts, hazelnuts, and hickory nuts for winter nourishment.

Do blue jays hibernate?

Bluejays do not hibernate. Blue jays’ active foraging, energetic presence at backyard feeders, and large-scale food-sourcing gatherings on the forest floor provide them with the energy reserves necessary to endure the colder weather. Being active in winter is a vital survival strategy for bluejays.


Having a deep understanding of the habits and diet of blue jays in winter will let you know how to help these beautiful birds get through severe cold weather better.