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You Have an Aggressive Blue Jay in Your Yard – Now What?

Blue Jay
Photobucket / dakimmel

It would seem there are two schools of thought when it comes to Blue Jays. The first is that they’re a beautiful creature who can do whatever they please because they’re so nice to look at. The other is that the birds are total bullies and they’re not so great to have around. Maybe you were excited when one came to nest in your yard for the first time, but now you’re dive-bombed every time you walk outside. Now what?

I’ve never had experience with Blue Jays before moving to Texas. The first time I saw one I was thrilled and loved to watch it in our yard. Then it started attacking the cat. Suddenly that bird wasn’t so pretty. We moved from that house into another and in the past few weeks I’ve noticed two Blue Jays spending time in this yard, though I don’t believe they have a nest in our tree. I’ve been watching the birds and they’ve behaved themselves, but in the past few days they’ve started their attack.

Not only do they revel in act of dive-bombing the cat, they’ve also set their sights on me as a target, swooping within inches of my face. In fact, if one is in the yard but the other isn’t and we come outside, the bird will perch on the house and scream for the other to join in the fun.

My first response was to consider what it would take to rid my yard of these birds for good. I’m not a violent type and I’ve certainly never had a vendetta against a little bird, but this one seems extra excited to claw my face. After lamenting my problems on Facebook a friend pointed out that it’s illegal to injure or move Blue Jays and their nests, thanks to a little thing called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. One might think the birds are aware of this fact, fueling their apparent sense of entitlement.

My search then turned to the Internet, which produced a slew of results on how to rid your yard of this pesky bird. Do any of them really work? They’re a pretty smart bird so only time will tell. In the meantime, expect to see the bird bullying you, your pets, other birds in the area, squirrels, rabbits, leaves and branches, barbeque grills, ghosts, and anything else it sees. Here’s what you might try if you have a pesky Blue Jay in your yard:

  • Wind Chimes
  • A fake owl
  • A realistic rubber snake (like a cotton mouth)
  • Get a cat (this has already proven to be a source of entertainment for the birds, not a means to rid the yard of them)
  • Change the food in your bird feeder, if you have one in the yard
  • Children’s windmills

One Web site even offered up a CD that can be played in the yard that guarantees it will chase away Blue Jays from the first time it’s played. Also, if you get a fake owl or rubber snake it needs to be moved often to create a “realistic” predator.

Another suggestion I found was to call animal control to have them deal with it, but it’s unlikely this will produce results. In order to move a nest a permit must be granted, and those are rarely approved. The bottom line is, even if it’s in an inconvenient spot or you’re in the midst of a full-on war every day, you’re stuck with that nest.

For those of us in Wichita Falls there will eventually be relief. The birds don’t stick around year-round and they’ll move on to the next place. They’re also just doing what comes naturally, which is protecting their nest and their babies and getting food wherever they can. Sure, it’s annoying to those of us who have a streak of feathers cross our faces every day, but it will end when they move.

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