Can You own A Pet Blue Jay?

Can you own a pet blue jay? The short answer is no. Blue jays are wild songbirds that are not domesticated. It is very unlikely that you find a blue jay for sale anywhere. But after reading this article you will know about a workaround.

Pet blue jay

I know blue jays are very beautiful and it would be tempting to own one. While I had a budgie and other domesticated birds in my life, I have never caught and kept a wild creature. And you shouldn’t either.

Is It Legal To Own A Blue Jay?

Blue jays are protected under the Migratory Bird Act like all other wild birds in the US. This regulation makes keeping pet blue jays illegal. [1]

Similar regulations exist in many countries. The Migratory Birds Convention Act for example regulates intervention with wild birds in Canada. [2]

There is only one exception to the rules: you are a professional and licensed wildlife rehabilitator. 

If this is the case you are allowed to foster adult and baby blue jays. Of course, a rehabilitator has to release the birds into the wild again after his care is finished.

Do Blue Jays Make Good Pets?

Blue jay eating peanuts

Even if it wasn’t prohibited, blue jays wouldn’t make the ideal pet bird.

These wild songbirds are very demanding in their needs and it’s likely that you are not able to fulfill all of them.

Apart from that, it can be considered just cruel to keep wild species in captivity. 

However, if blue jays live in your area you can attract them into your garden.

This way you can watch them closely, feed them and offer accommodation. So, it is almost like having them as a pet bird.

But as beautiful as they appear, have in mind that blue jays can leave behind a lot of feces. Additionally, they are quite dominant and aggressive against smaller birds.

Some garden owners that start attracting blue jays stop it after a few weeks because of the mess the birds make.

How To Attract Blue Jays?

Still sure you want to have these outside pet blue jays?

Then here is how to attract them:

1. Get A Bird Feeder

Blue jay bird feeder

Install a bird feeder and offer a lot of nuts! Especially peanuts and black oil sunflower seeds can do the trick.

Solid feeder options are the way to go as swinging variants are not that suitable. 

Go for a big one too, as blue jays are quite large for songbirds.

They also love to have a lot of nuts and seeds available. Make sure to refill the feeder regularly. Even if you think it’s still half full it might be the right time to add some food.

2. Let Some Old Foliage Under The Trees

Blue jays will use old leaves to stash away some of their favorite nuts.

Unfortunately, they won’t find them all again but you will increase the chances that the birds visit your garden in winter.

3. Offer Accommodation

blue jay house

You can find bird houses that are specially designed for blue jays.

These are a bit larger to reflect the size of the target bird.

Blue jays build several nests which they will switch immediately when danger occurs. That means, that you should offer more than one bird house as well.

4. Install A Water Bath

Like most birds, blue jays enjoy taking a bath as well. Apart from that, they need a place where they can find drinking water.

A small birdbath will do the job and it’s fun to observe the spectacle.

Apart from this small list, you will find more tips at worldbirds.org.

Can Blue Jays Be Tamed?

It is totally possible to train a blue jay to eat peanuts out of your hand if this is what you understand under term tamed. 

Place yourself a bit nearer to the feeder every day and keep still.

After the birds are accustomed to your presence you can remove the feeder and place some nuts on your body.

When the birds start taking the nuts, the next step would be to go over to hand feeding.

How To Take Care Of A Baby Blue Jay?

Sometimes it might happen that you find a baby blue jay that seems to need your care.

In some cases that can be right, but often people with good intentions make the situations for the young birds even worse.

A good example is when you find a baby blue jay on the ground.

While this can be fatal for nestlings, it is typically normal for the life stage of fledglings. Are you sure to be able to properly distinguish between both of them?

Baby blue jays in nest

If you are uncertain, doing nothing but keeping predators away might be the best thing you can do.

Of course, you should call a wildlife rehabilitator before you take further steps.

I wrote a whole article about how you take care of wild baby birds. I recommend reading it to avoid any mistakes.

Apart from that, you learn about possible things you can do to keep the baby bird safe.

Pet Blue Jay Alternatives

If there is no way around a pet bird for you, there are some species that look very similar to blue jays.

Search for white or black-throated magpie jays. These birds are legal and can make very good pets.

I’m sure you will be happy with one of them.

Wrapping Things Up

It is not possible to have pet blue jays. They are wild birds that are protected under the Migratory Bird Act or similar in many countries.

Owning one of them illegal and can be described as cruelty as it is very unlikely that you can meet their needs.

That said, it is possible to attract them into your garden and tame them for hand feeding.

So you can watch the beautiful birds whenever you want and interact with them. 

If you are sure that you want to have a pet bird under all circumstances look for species that are very similar in their outward appearance. White- or black-throated magpie jays can be a good alternative.