1. Home
  2. /
  3. Wildlife
  4. /
  5. How To Attract Cardinals...

How To Attract Cardinals And Blue Jays Like A Pro

Bird watchingOpens in a new tab. has been a past time favorite for many. There is just something special and miraculous about watching nature and evolution at work. Some people are fortunate enough to live in a fertile area that draws in specific species of birds naturally. Luckily for you, both cardinals and blue jays aren’t particularly hard to please. In fact, it is entirely possible that with just a few simple alterations to your backyard and bird feeder, you might be able to turn your yard into a full blow haven for these specific species. How to attract cardinals and blue jays?

Cardinals and blue jays are attracted to foods like peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, cracker corn, milo, meal worms, fruit, suet, safflower, and acorns.

1.Choosing The Right Food

How To Attract Cardinals And Blue Jays

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to attract a jay or a cardinal. If you want to be successful, you are going to need to bring the right food into the equation. Most species or cardinals usually have a long, strong, and thick beak. This makes the large and hearty seeds perfect for their design.

Safflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, and white milo are just amongst a few of the cardinals favorites. That being said, cardinals will not only take to larger seeds, but they will also eat crushed peanuts, cracked corn, and berries. Small chunks of suet are always a favorite for the species during the cold, dreary winter months.

[ I recommend for cardinals, the birdseed made by Wagners. You can get it for a good price on Amazon here, Wagner’s Cardinal Blend]

Luckily, jays aren’t that much different when it comes to preferred nutrition. Most species of jays will take to insects, nuts, fruits, and grains, Sunflower seeds, and peanut shells, as well as shelled kernels, are amongst some of the jay’s favorite foods. Put these delicious and hearty snacks in the right place and you will attract cardinals as well as jays in no time.

[I recommend for blue jays, made by the same company as the cardinal birdseed, Wagners, you can find that for a good price on Amazon too, Here is a link to it, Wagner’s Greatest Variety Blend]

2. Feeder Maintenance

Both jays and cardinals prefer a platform feeder, but it is the jays that prefer a cleaner environment. With jays, you want to make sure that you are cleaning the feeder and removing old bird droppings on a daily basis.

Cardinals really aren’t quite as picky, but if you are going to attract both species then this is a good practice to apply to both feeders. If you are going to clean one feeder it won’t take but a few extra minutes to attend to the other.

3. Providing A Proper Water Supply

If you look in most people’s backyards, you will discover that they tend to hand up bird feeders and houses, but for some reason omit the birdbath. Bird species not only need proper nutrition, but they need water as well. And, most species like the cardinal and jay need water all year round.

Both cardinals and jay will need easy access to water for drinking and bathing. Birdbaths or bird watering stations are without a doubt the best solution to this problem.

Just make sure that you are following the same rules that you followed with the feeder. Ensure that the bath will safely and securely accommodate several birds at one time.

Best Bird Feeder For Blue Jays And Cardinals

Not only do you need to choose the right foods to attract your desired species, but you also need to utilize the right type of feeder. A typical feeder needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of several cardinals and jays at a single time. An average cardinal can weigh might peak out at 1.5 ounces, whereas a jay can grow to be as big as 3.8 ounces.

Whether you are trying to attract cardinals or jays, you want to make sure that you are always avoiding lightweight feeders. These feeders will tend to sway back and forth with the birds making for an uncomfortable and confrontational feeding.

When trying to attract both cardinals and jays it is best to utilize platform feeders or other bird feeders with built-in trays. These feeders with this design will ensure that the birds have enough perching room while picking out their feed.

Like this one on Amazon, Cardinal FeederOpens in a new tab..

The Migratory Function Of Cardinals And Blue Jays

If you want to learn to attract cardinals and blue jays to your yard you must first truly understand how they migrate and live. The first thing that you need to know about cardinals is that they are a non-migratory bird. What exactly does this mean?

It means that they stay in one place all year round. If you are fortunate and successful enough to draw them to your yard then it is highly likely that they will thrive there all year round. The only problem with this scenario is that cardinals are only native to certain areas.

If you do not live in one of these areas then you will not be able to do anything to attract them. Cardinals have been found as far north as southern Canada and Maine. Some species of cardinals have even been found in parts of Central American as well as the Gulf Coast.

It is even possible to now find the species in South Dakota as well as Texas. As of recently, some experts have introduced cardinal species in Hawaii, southwestern California, and Bermuda.

Bluejays, on the other hand, are entirely different as they are migratory birds. This means that the relocated during certain times of the year. For instance, some species of jays will migrate south one year, stay north the next, and venture back south the following year.

Experts have not really discerned why these specific species choose to travel this way, but it seems like their natural pattern. While they might be harder to attract to your yard than the cardinal, it does not mean that it is an entirely futile process.


There is no denying that cardinals and blue jays are majestic creatures. They can take any backyard and turn it into a warmer, more inviting space. Of course, Attracting these creatures won’t be the easiest thing in the world.

This is especially true if you aren’t in the right areas. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in the right areas and apply the above tips successfully, you won’t have a problem attracting an abundance of either species.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

Other Articles