How do you attract Florida scrub jays?

Answered by Tom Adger

Attracting Florida scrub jays can be a rewarding experience, as these beautiful birds are native to Florida and are known for their distinctive blue plumage and curious nature. There are several strategies you can employ to attract these birds to your yard or garden.

1. Provide a suitable habitat: Florida scrub jays thrive in scrub oak or pine habitats, so it is important to create a suitable environment for them. If you have a large yard, consider leaving some areas with low-growing vegetation, like scrub oak or pine trees. This will provide the jays with the habitat they prefer and increase the likelihood of them visiting your property.

2. Offer a variety of food sources: Florida scrub jays have a diverse diet, so providing a range of food options will help attract them. In addition to their natural food sources, you can supplement their diet by offering suet, mealworms, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. These can be placed in bird feeders or scattered on the ground to attract the jays.

3. Plant native fruit-bearing plants: Florida scrub jays are attracted to small fruits and berries, so planting native fruit-bearing plants in your yard can be a great way to entice them. Elderberries, cherries, wild grapes, and blackberries are all excellent choices. Not only will these plants attract jays, but they will also provide food for other native birds and wildlife.

4. Provide water sources: Like all birds, Florida scrub jays need access to water for drinking and bathing. Consider installing a birdbath or shallow dish of water in your yard. Make sure to keep the water clean and fresh, and place it in a location where the jays can easily spot it.

5. Minimize disturbance: Florida scrub jays are sensitive to disturbances and may be wary of human activity. Minimize noise and movement around their habitat to increase the chances of attracting them. If you have pets, it is essential to keep them away from the areas where the jays are frequenting.

Personal experience: When I wanted to attract Florida scrub jays to my yard, I started by creating a suitable habitat. I left a portion of my yard with low-growing vegetation, including scrub oak and pine trees. I also installed multiple bird feeders with a variety of food options, including suet, mealworms, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. Additionally, I planted native fruit-bearing plants such as elderberries and blackberries. I made sure to provide fresh water in a birdbath and placed it in a quiet area of my yard. Over time, I started noticing Florida scrub jays visiting my yard regularly, and it was a delight to watch them interact with the food and water sources I provided.

Remember, attracting Florida scrub jays may require patience and persistence. It may take some time for the birds to discover your offerings and feel comfortable visiting your yard. By creating a suitable habitat, offering a variety of food sources, planting native fruit-bearing plants, providing water, and minimizing disturbances, you can increase the chances of attracting these beautiful birds to your outdoor space.