The Blue Jay Feeding Preference
Blue jays eat both plants and animals. They eat nuts, fruits, seeds, insects, mice, frogs, small birds and bird eggs. The other animals they can eat include grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, carrion or dead animal and small vertebrates. Their diet during the winter, however, consists mostly of vegetables such as acorns, beech nuts, berries and seeds. When eating nuts, the blue jays hold the nut with their feet and use their heavy bill to crack the shell of nuts or open cocoons.
This bird is often seen carrying acorns and beechnuts which they hide under leaves, in grass or in hollow trees. During the winter season, they bring their food like bread and sunflower seeds away from feeding stations and keep them under trees and shrubs for consumption at a later time. Feeders in backyards containing peanuts, mixed grains and sunflower seeds normally attract the blue jays. They seem to like holding nuts and pecking them to open to get the kernels inside.
These intelligent passerine birds can be naughty, too. They display a variety of behaviors just to get food and defend themselves. They can steal food from other birds’ nests and take advantage of any food resource available. They even enjoy going to backyard feeders that contain black oil sunflower seeds. And did you know that they know how to stock on food for later use? Blue jays normally prefer to store acorns in the crevices of barks of trees or in the soil.
During the later part of summer, fall and winter, blue jays fly off to other locations in large flocks searching for food. This often frightens other birds forcing them to leave their feeding areas. Predators also stay away from them during this time especially when the blue jays imitate the call of hawks.
Just like most birds, the blue jays know how to defend their territory against predators. Both parents are capable of attacking and chasing hawks, falcons, raccoons, cats, snakes, squirrels and humans as well. Hawks, owls and falcons are the enemies of adult blue jays. Their nestlings, meanwhile, are being preyed on by cats, snakes, squirrels, raccoons and opossums.
Blue jays are also known to do the courtship feeding which begins even before the building of their nest. This continues until the egg-laying, incubation and egg-hatching. During the incubation period, the female bird mostly stays in the nest. It is the male blue jay that looks for food to feed his mate. But when the eggs hatch, both parents take turns in searching for food for their young.