What Do Blue Jays Like To Eat

August 11, 2021 // 9 minutes read // 39 Shares

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what do blue jays like to eat

It’s never easy trying to figure out what do blue jays like to eat. I figured out a few of their favorite delectable meals through trial and error but it wasn’t enough. I decided to take the plunge and perform serious research on the topic to pique my curiosity once and for all, and I’ll share the results of my examination with you today.

Blue jay love to eat a variety of food types including sunflower seeds, blackberries, cherries, acorns, mealworms, beechnuts, suet, peanuts, and other dried berries. It’s best to feed Blue jays using hopper feeders or tray feeders because they are large enough to accommodate their bigger bodies.

And we’ve only just begun to dive into blue jay feeding habits.

I’d like to provide the most complete and extensive answer on this topic today. With that in mind, I’m going to cover favorite foods and other areas that include:

  • Their favorite types of nuts
  • Their favorite types of fruits
  • Their favorite types of seeds
  • Whether or not they like spicy food
  • Whether or not they eat insects
  • Whether or not they eat mealworms and suet
  • The seeds you should avoid feeding Blue jays
  • Other organic food sources

I have so much that I’d like to share with you today.

Please keep reading to discover the tasty treats that all blue jays love – and a few that they don’t!

blue jay in backyard
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Photo by Chris F from Pexels

Blue Jay Favorites: The Healthiest And Tastiest Foods That These Birds Can’t Wait To Devour

As you’re about to learn, blue jays absolutely adore a wide range of delicious foodstuffs that they can’t seem to get enough of.

Once you get their favorite foods right, you can throw open your curtains and watch beautiful blue jays crack open peanuts, gobble up healthy mealworms, or devour their favorite seeds, suet, and other tasty treats.

Their favorite natural and healthy ingredients include:

Nuts: They’re Healthy, Packed With Energy, And They Drive Blue Jays Wild

Believe it or not, these gorgeous bully birds will pretty much eat any nut that comes across their path. They enjoy eating them because they are so healthy, nutritious, and certainly delicious.

It’s best to feed them a combination of raw and roasted nuts. The raw nuts have more moisture and water content, and the roasted nuts taste amazing.

In particular, blue jays seem to adore eating peanuts. Pack a tray or hopper feeder with them and watch these wild birds swarm the premises.

Even better…

Do you want to enjoy an amazing show? Make sure to feed blue jays whole peanuts in the shell.

Here’s what happens…

They will take a whole peanut and pick it up with its feet. With the whole peanut still held in its feet, they will then crack it open with their beaks.

It’s truly an exciting sight to behold.

On a side note, avoid feeding peanuts that you buy in the grocery store because they are typically loaded with excess salt. 

I recommend only serving backyard birds Lyric Peanut Pieces and other pet food brands.

Fruits: These Delicious Sugar-Filled Foods Taste Great And Deliver Healthy Nutrients

Picture this:

You fill up your hopper feeder with tasty fruits. And before long, the gorgeous blue jays in your community are enjoying the fruits of your bounty.

What do they like to eat?

They’ll gladly eat a few different types of fruit, but in particular, these birds seem to really enjoy berries.

The berries that they most noticeably eat include:

  • Elderberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Goji Berries
  • Boysenberries
  • Blueberries

They also like eating cherries, wild grapes, and other tasty fruits.

blue jay on branch
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Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

Seeds: They Are Nutrient Dense, Loaded With Healthy Fats, And Offer An Instant Boost Of Energy

I have to tell you…

I never met a blue jay that didn’t love eating seeds! But there is definitely a catch because they have a strong dislike for some seeds that I’ll tell you about below. And they also love a particular type of seed that I’ll tell you about right now.

These birds can’t get enough sunflower seeds. In particular, they really love eating black oil sunflower seeds and striped sunflower seeds.

The black oil sunflower seeds are a great choice because they contain roughly 44% fat, 24% fiber, and 17% protein, which is an excellent ratio that packs a tremendous amount of energy to provide these birds a boost.

On the other hand:

Striped sunflower seeds are also a favorite choice. They contain roughly 24% fat, 40% fiber, and 16% protein. They also have a favorable nutrient profile, but they contain much less fat, so they likely aren’t going to provide the same energy boost as black oil sunflower seeds.

Wagner’s sells healthy and affordable black oil sunflower seeds and striped sunflower seeds online at your favorite retailers.

Spicy Foods: A Smash Hit Or A Major Disaster?

Here’s the deal:

Blue jays typically avoid eating spicy foods, and this is especially true if the food is overly spicy.

On the other hand:

If they’re hungry enough, they might eat something with mild spices on it. But they prefer eating ordinary food and plainly the way nature intended it.


Avoid buying spicy suet or seasoned nuts or anything else that has a spicy flavor if you’re attempting to attract blue jays.

As I said, they might eat them a little if they aren’t too spicy, but they prefer eating plain mealworms, suet, nuts, seeds, and other types of food.

Insects: Nature’s Bounty And A Delicious Treat For These Boundless Birds

The natural environment also provides delicious and healthy treats for blue jays.

In particular…

These birds love eating ground-dwelling bugs that they can easily snatch up in their beaks.

Their favorite insects include:

  • Beetles
  • Grasshoppers
  • Caterpillars

Fun fact: Blue jays help control the gypsy moth population during caterpillar infestations. They eat the caterpillars before they have a chance to transform into these pesky moths.

Mealworms: Yay Or Nay?

Although I covered insects above, I felt that mealworms deserved their own category.


For starters, blue jays can’t get enough of these delicious and nutritious treats. If you put them in your feeder, they will disappear in seconds because that’s how quickly these birds devour them.

But even more important:

You can buy mealworms from your favorite pet store or online retailer.

I suggest choosing a popular brand of mealworms that you know your blue jays are absolutely going to adore because they can’t get enough of them.

Personally, I always feed my favorite wild birds – even the bully birds – Kimoe Mealworms or C&S Mealworm Delight No Melt Suet Dough.

As I said, the blue jays swarm my backyard when I put out these delicious meals and they gobble it up so quickly as soon as I fill the freshly packed feeders.

Suet: A Healthy Meal Or A Huge Turnoff?

Based on the previous question, I have a sneaking suspicion that you already know the answer!

Sure, blue jays love suet!

And as I said, one of their favorites is C&S Mealworm Delight No Melt Suet Dough. This particular treat has suet dough, mealworms, and sunflower seeds all combined into a healthy and tasty treat.

Or if you prefer:

I also recommend Wild Sciences Suet. Besides the healthy rendered beef fat, they have a couple of formulas containing fruits, nuts, seeds, and peanuts, which blue jays go bananas for.

blue jay eating a peanut
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Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

Tastebud Pleasers: Other Delicious Foods That Blue Jays Love

Believe it or not, blue jays also possess a taste for more natural live sources of nutrition that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

What am I talking about?

In particular, these birds are known to steal baby hatchlings and unhatched eggs from other nests.

Eww, right?

I can’t say I’m too thrilled about the idea of blue jays eating other birds or unhatched bird eggs, but this is part of the natural cycle of life.

Just don’t expect me to baby birds and eggs any to them!

Guess what? 

They also like to eat mice from time to time. Obviously, they focus their efforts on eating small field mice that they can overpower. And again, this is a very small portion of their overall diet.

Other creatures that they might consume include dead animals, carrion, small vertebrates, and frogs.

Besides that:

These birds also enjoy eating acorns and beechnuts. So, if you do not have them already, you may want to plant oak trees and beech trees in your backyard.

After a while, these majestic trees will eventually begin dropping beechnuts and acorns on the ground for blue jays and other birds and animals to enjoy.

Dreaded Seeds: Which Ones to Avoid While Feeding Blue jays


It’s best to avoid giving blue jays safflower and thistle (Nyjer) seeds.


For the most part, these seeds have more of a bitter taste to them. And the blue jays find them unappealing at best and downright distasteful at worst.

To keep blue jays happy and visiting your backyard, you should avoid feeding these seeds to them at all costs.

The Bottom Line On What Do Blue jays Like To Eat

At long last, you’ve made it all the way to the end. I hope you found the information useful and informative. It’s the sole reason why I shared my discoveries with you today.

As we just learned, blue jays have a diversified and well-balanced diet. They eat a wide range of foods from many food groups.

To reiterate, the most common foods that they eat include:

  • Sunflower seeds including black oil and striped seeds
  • Fruit including elderberries, cherries, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, and more
  • Insects including grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars
  • Store-bought suet and mealworms from popular retailers including Wagner’s, Kimoe, and C&S
  • Other living or deceased creatures including small birds, birds’ eggs, frogs, mice, dead animals, small vertebrates, and carrion
  • They dislike spicy foods, thistle (Nyjer) seeds, and safflower seeds
  • They love eating acorns and beechnuts that fall directly from these trees

Let’s wrap things up for today.

Feel free to try any or all of these tasty ingredients whenever you feed the blue jays on your property. I give you my word that they’ll absolutely enjoy everything specifically stated as their favorite foods that I shared with you today.

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