Building a Birdhouse for the Blue Jay
Blue jays build nest in the shape of a cup and use various materials like twigs, leaves, grass, roots and moss. Their nests are usually located between eight to 30 feet above the ground atop trees, evergreens or artificial structures like power poles or even windowsills.
Attracting blue jays in your backyard is easy. You can put a nesting shelf or an open shed on a tree or on the side of your garage about 10 to 12 feet high. Find an area where they can be protected from predators, elements, visibility, access and sunlight.
An open birdhouse or nesting platform will surely attract the blue jays. Provide a floor area of about 8 inches by 8 inches with a ceiling also about 8 inches high. A sloping ceiling with open sides and front is ideal. Birds that normally nest on trees are more likely to nest on platforms as well just like the blue jays.
The idea in building a birdhouse is to simulate a tree cavity. Birds that nest in tree cavities will also nest in wood birdhouses. This will happen if the boxes and entrance holes follow certain measurements and if they are located in appropriate heights in favorable areas. A height of five to six feet is okay for the birds and for you too since it will still allow you to reach the birdhouse for cleaning. Some birds may be enticed to nest on platforms or boxes. Keep in mind, though, that blue jays opt to nest in a weathered birdhouse than a newly-built one. They start searching for nesting areas during the months of February and March.
Anytime is the best time to build a birdhouse to let birds easily adapt to the area. The most ideal time, however, is in the fall or winter. As soon as they become comfortable in a house or feeder, they make it a part of their daily living.
The entry hole of a birdhouse is best situated in the west. Just make sure that it does not face the afternoon sun.
If you’re successful in attracting a pair of blue jays in your birdhouse, chances are they will go back to it in later years. This is sure to happen even if one mate dies because the other one will return with a new mate. Male offspring have also the tendency to go back to the place where they hatched along with their respective mates. As for the female offspring, they fly off in the winter and once they find a mate, will follow the male to their natal place.