My mom, Peggy, has had an ongoing issue with blue jays in her yard. As I wrote before in Bullies at the Bird Feeder, they can be a real nuisance at her feeders. They eat an obnoxious amount of bird seed and really act as bullies when other birds try to eat.
Now the latest problem is that they are arriving first thing on the morning in groups of up to 35 and staying to dine for 3-4. You can only imagine how fast they can clean out the feeders and certainly scare off any other bird who may want to eat breakfast.
So what to do? I guess Mom could have given up and just stopped feeding the birds altogether, but that would make for a very unhappy backyard. Instead, she worked to makes the feeders blue jay unfriendly.
First, some of the feeders like the platforms and cardinal feeders just had to come down. Luckily the cardinals and mourning doves were able to find enough seed on the ground to keep them happy. On occasion they’ll even find nice handfuls of sunflower seeds set out on the ground for them. For cardinals, this works best in the early morning or late afternoon.
Then, some of the others were put in cages that would allow the smaller birds access, but keep out the bigger birds like blue jays out.
The downy and hairy woodpeckers can still get in and enjoy the suet.
The pileated woodpeckers prefer to visit another suet feeder that the blue jays haven’t seemed to find!
The weighted squirrel proof bird feeder can be set to keep off larger birds like the blue jays. It’s settings are sensitive enough that the cardinals and smaller birds can still feed on here.
The most popular feeders in Peggy’s yard are actually the colorful and fun little sunflower seed ball feeders. The clinging birds are constantly on them and the blue jays haven’t been able to figure these out.
The oddity Mom’s encountered with these feeders is the pine siskins’ habit of just pulling out seeds and dropping them. Maybe they’re looking for just the right one? Still no waste though, since the ground feeding juncoes are just fine hanging out under the feeders and eating the treats.
Lastly, this ground feeder is filled with cracked corn enjoyed by an assortment of birds and bunnies. I asked Mom why she’d be feeding the bunnies. She said it was better they eat the cracked corn than eat her plants! Can’t argue with that!
Have you had to adjust your feeders for some nuisance birds?