blue jay

Do Blue Jays Migrate? The Truth

The Blue Jays winter migration is a fantastic opportunity to see a great variety of migrating birds up close and personal. I have had the pleasure of seeing a great variety of different birds during the winter migrations of the Blue Jays and will give you some tips on where and when the best time to view these wonderful animals will be.

Winter Migration

Winter migrations are generally the best time for bird watching because of the abundance of wildlife. The  Blue jays will migrate from southern Ontario, Canada, and travels up into New England. This is when they will be the most common in parks.

If you are lucky enough to be at the beginning or end of the winter migration season you will be able to witness the largest number of Blue jays in one area. These animals migrate to warmer climates for the winter, however, you can find them in all parts of the world.

The migration starts from early spring and ends in late autumn. During this time you will see the highest number of these birds in one location.

Winter migration is not the only time that these beautiful birds stop and lay eggs. They also go to other parts of the country in search of food such as insects, seeds, and berries.

You should plan to see these animals in a wide variety of locations throughout the year. The winter migration season for the Blue jays may last several weeks and start in mid-February.

Migration Routes

Migratory birds are fascinating creatures. Most people believe that migratory birds have only one migration route each year, but this is simply not true. In fact, many migratory birds will spend time in different areas during their lives.

There are a few reasons why some migratory bird species might take multiple routes. For example, these may include the need to breed or overwinter in certain locations.

Migratory Pattern

In most cases, migratory birds will spend about six months or more traveling north up to their wintering grounds. Then they’ll go back south in the fall and move north again. This cycle repeats itself as well.

Blue Jay fluffing feathers
Image by Scottslm from Pixabay

Return to Breeding Grounds

When the migration is complete, migratory birds return to the breeding grounds and lay eggs, then they’ll head off to new territory again. It’s a very slow process, but it definitely follows a pattern.

So why do Blue Jays migrate?

Why do they migrate? It’s most likely because they’re searching for food and a mate that are both more abundant in warmer regions. In order to survive their migration, blue jays store up fat reserves before embarking on their journey southward.

Where do Blue Jays go in the winter time?

In the winter time, Blue Jays will search for thick vegetation to roost. They will camouflage themselves and find a perch high up in the foliage of evergreens, so that they are protected from the weather.

There is also evidence that these birds may actually hibernate during this period. Blue Jays have a tendency to go into periods of torpor, or prolonged sleep-like state.

Blue Jay in the snow
Image by amyfsb from Pixabay

What do blue Jays like to eat in winter?

Winter is the time of year when most blue jays are forced to go on a diet.  In winter, they can be found lower down in the trees or foraging on the ground searching for food sources such as acorns, seeds, berries and grasshoppers.

These provide the energy that they need to survive the cold season. There are many other sources of food for blue jays during this time including caterpillars, mice and bird eggs as well as baby birds that may have fallen from nests or trees.

How do Blue Jays stay warm in winter?

One of the most well-known adaptations for birds in winter is their feathers. A blue jays feathers act as an excellent insulation to keep them warm and comfortable.

When they are not needed, a bird will fluff up its feathers to increase their insulating heat generated by the bird’s body which is trapped in these air pockets.

In turn, the combination of the feathers and air pockets acts as an excellent insulation against freezing temperatures that might be experienced during wintertime when food sources may be low.

Attracting Blue Jays to your yard

Attracting blue jays to your backyard is a lot easier than you might think. Blue Jays are very intelligent birds and will not only respond to what they see, but also to what they hear.  The following products below have direct links to Amazon.

Here are 15 tips on how you can attract them into your yard:

1) The best way to attract blue jays is by putting out an open feeder of peanuts or corn kernels that can be cracked open by the birds’ strong bills. 

2) Feed them suet during winter months – The suet will provide necessary fats for their feathery insulation. You can pick our recommended suet feeder with suet from these links on Amazon.

3) Put up a bird feeder and place the seed mix with some millet, corn kernels, black-oil sunflower seeds, and peanuts on it to attract them for their winter food supply. 

4) Create an inviting perch by hanging two ropes over trees or posts about 12 feet apart with a platform between them.

5) Blue Jays love peanuts and corn so leave some out for them.

6) Provide a birdbath with water as well- this way they won’t need to travel far from their nesting area.

7) Place fruit on the ground such as grapes or oranges.

8) Plant blueberry bushes or other fruiting plants in your yard to attract them for their winter food supply. 

9) Add other foods such as peanut butter sandwiches, raisins, dried fruit and seeds that contain fat content

10) Put up lots of perches for the birds – this includes thick branches from trees and poles.