Spring arrives after a long, cold winter and with itself brings the bloom. The sky is clear blue, the trees are colorful, and the parks are full of happy crowds. The best part about spring is our winged companions and their tunes.
You should never mind them relishing over the green grass of your lawn. However, there are two such birds that you might want to have in your yard are Cardinals and Blue Jays.
A pair that makes very good friends
Why the Blue Jay?
If you come across a blue jay, even during the spring, you should consider thanking the Lady of Luck. As it is, they are very rare to spot even during the season, more so in the off-season. Only in certain parts of the eastern and central United States, can the blue jays be spotted throughout the year. Therefore, if you want to attract a magnificent bird to your lawn, you must provide somewhat extra attention to the lawn.
How to Spot the Blue Jay?
It is safe to say, the name of the bird gives away its primary distinction. Blue jays are called so for the shad they have on their back and wings. They generally are accompanied by white patterns on the tail and chest.
Sometimes they have a black patch that fits like a necklace on the neck. A tuft of flue feathers on their head distinguishes them from other birds. These feathers stand upright indicating the bird’s awareness of its surroundings. Their wingers have beautifully painted with white and black flakes as well.
Another specialty of the blue jay is that it usually has its friends close by. They usually traverse in flocks. So, if you are lucky enough to spot one, look for others around. There is a high chance they are nearby. However, if you want them to head towards your lawn it is a safe idea to pair them with cardinals. They are very compatible as a pair. The blue cardinal pair is often found in and around birds like nuthatches, woodpeckers, and chickadees.
How to Attract the Blue Jay Bird to Your Lawn?
First and foremost, get nuts. Before thinking about anything else, make sure you have a stock of all types of nuts and enough of them. Salted, roasted, even uncooked, anything will do. This is an age-old trick to lure blue jays to your yard. However, make sure the nuts are not salty or too spicy.
You have the best chances of watching blue jays stroll around your lawn if you live near the woods or a forested locality. Like most other beings, the blue jays primarily call the forest their home. Nevertheless, you can try and install a hopper feeder or a tray feeder to attract them to your lawn.
After all, who says no to free food? The blue jays do not like the hanging feeder as much as these two and hence, these two can be handy to bring to your lawn. However, there are some other items you can use to bait them to your place. These birds can be also attracted to acorn, safflower, suet, fruit, milo, mealworms, cracker corn, sunflower seeds, and even peanuts.
If it is convenient for you, you can try to plant an oak tree in your yard. If you desperately want your yard to have blue jays, oak is a safe but considerable option to go for. Blue jays favor oaks that produce acorns, a fine example of one such oak is the Oregon white oak. However, make sure the yard permits the plantation of such a coniferous tree, and the region suits it well.
Blue jays love taking a bath after the crunchy peanuts. If you make a huge birdbath for the blue jays, they might consider being regular guests in your yard. They really appreciate a bath of freshwater for drinking as well as bathing. Using a large bath can be a very good idea.
Since blue jays usually travel in flocks, a bath to hold the entire fleet together can come in handy. Better yet, you can use the big pedestal baths for the birds. Not only do they attract more birds, but also make your lawns visually pleasing as well. You can easily find them if you look for one online.
Once they are there, enjoy them from a distance. They are very careful and instinctive birds. They will not eat if you are too close, even if it is their favorite treat. Blue Jays will let you know that they do not appreciate it by flying very close to you.
They turn territorial in such cases and therefore you might want to maintain your distance. They are extremely territorial when it comes to their food and their young ones, but they will not hit you, under normal circumstances.
As majestic as they are, blue jays do have a nemesis – the squirrel. Keep your feeders and if possible, the entire yard free from squirrels. Keep the feeder-free from squirrels at all costs. If the feeders are safe, the blue jays have an assurance that there is no competition with the squirrels.
Even after all the preps, everything is at the mercy of Mother Nature and Lady Luck.
Why the Cardinal as Well?
Cardinals are such a favorite in the United States that they have an entire baseball team named after them. They are strong, seed-eating birds with strong beaks. If you see them around your place, then you are probably in the Northern or Southern parts of the country. They are usually deep red with a patch around their neck like the blue jay. Their wings have a maroon hue and sometimes a blue and black patch.
How Can You Spot A Cardinal?
The cardinal has a characteristic long tail. This makes it easy to spot even from a distance. It has a healthy size and prefers to sit in a hunch-over posture. This makes the tail point straight to the ground exposing the artwork on its back. The bird boasts a thick bill and a prominent crest. The males are deep red while the females have a pale-yellowish or a brownish coat.
How Make Sure Cardinals Come to Your Yard?
The most effective way is once again to use feeders. Not just the ordinary feeder but the hopper feeders. They like to perch, sit, and then relish their meal. Even if the regular one has their favorite food, they might not be inclined towards it.
Unless they find themselves in a position where their feet are facing forward, they would not want to sit on the feeder. They like to bend, twist, and do all sorts of maneuvers to get their treat and a hopper feeder provides just enough for that. Make sure your layout several feeders and keep an eye on the one that suits them the best.
Like every being, good food attracts them. Once you have set the feeders out, make sure you stock them with the favorite items on their menu. These birds eat a variety of fruits and nuts. They have a strong beak which is sturdy as well. Their beak allows them to husk and hull most seeds.
Therefore, safflower and sunflower seeds are their most preferred treats. Their favorite however is the age-old black sunflower seeds. Cardinals are attracted to these seeds more than any other type. The striped sunflower, which is bigger than the black is also among their favorites. It has a harder husk and is difficult to break for other birds. For the cardinal, however, that is no barrier.
Even after the table is set, it depends on the location of the table that goes a long way in deciding if your yard will be graced by their presence. That is, make sure you place the feeders in strategic locations. Cardinals like their food sources in and around a shelter. Place the feeders around trees and shrubs if you have them.
This keeps the food in a cool, comfortable place for the birds. Not only does the shade help them escape the heat but also the predators. In this way, there are plenty of spaces to hide and take cover for the cardinals while enjoying their meal.
Done with the food part, the birds will need their drinks. Like most mammals and birds, cardinals need a steady water intake, especially if it is a hot region. A dependable source of clean water is one of the best ways to attract many birds to your lawn. Even without the feeders, this can go a long way to bring many birds to your lawn.
They might stop at your lawn for a drink break. If there are a lot of birds using your source of water, make sure you regularly change it and keep it clean. The easiest way to keep them clean is by changing the water in the urn every day. If you can manage to keep the water moving, even better.
This keeps the water free from any kind of bacteria, algae, and pest eggs. Add a couple of sticks in the urn if you want to. This will enable the shy cardinals to stand on them while drinking the water or bathing in it.
Now that, they have been your guest once, you would want them to visit you again. Always keep the feeders full and well-stocked. Cardinals as we know, do not migrate in the winter. This means that they stick around throughout the year at the same place. You should make sure the feeders are full on the coldest winter night as well as the wettest stormy day. This will not only be a dependable source of food for the birds, but also a great help for them during times of distress.
Once they start regularly coming to your yard, try to encourage ground-feeding. Eating the seeds off the ground gives them a sense of security if there are shrubs and plants around. Keep in mind that overdoing this might have a reversed effect on the entire routine, given how shy these birds are.
Also, the fallen leaves on the ground might help in attracting more cardinals from the north to visit. If possible, lay out a mesh or a net beneath the hanging feeders. This serves as a better platform for the cardinals to feed on. As mentioned earlier, they like to have their food with their feet firmly gripped somewhere.
Once again, cardinals are very timid birds. They like the cover of trees, plants, and anything that provides shade. If your lawn has many trees and plants, the songbird is bound to feel safe and therefore is likely to be a regular guest at your place.
If you are lucky enough these songbirds might even end up being permanent residents there, at least for the time being. To complete a complete shelter for your bird, try to include all six layers. Namely- ground cover, perennials, small shrubs, large shrubs, small trees, and large trees. This makes for a perfect nesting environment.
If you want them to be permanent members of the yard, you might want to add nesting materials for them. Anything and everything can be a nesting material for the timid little birds.
Tiny sticks, yarn, strong, and even let fur serve as good nesting material. Place them in an empty but accessible cage near the feeders and you are good to go. Typically, the Cardinals do not like using birdhouses. However, they will use the nesting material you provide. Clearly, they like to build their homes on their own.
To keep them in your yard, make sure that there are not many reflective surfaces, like glass panes, mirrors, and even shiny metal. Even though they are shy, they are extremely territorial. They become very hostile against an intruder if they find one in their area, including themselves in a mirror. They might attack the surface mistaking their reflection to be an intruder.
Another thing you can do to make sure they stay is to keep the four-legged companions away. Despite all the protection, your pets can scare them away, mostly unintentionally.
Whatever winged friend you might have in your yard, make sure you take good care of them. They might make the yard dirty in ways, but honestly, that is not much of a mess. Being closer to nature has its benefits. Happy spotting!