Blue Jays Chipping Paint Off My House

So I’ve been witness to an odd phenomenon over the past week or so that I feel inclined to share with everyone.

I’ve heard on numerous occasions what I believed to be woodpeckers knocking on the exterior of our house. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember ever seeing woodpeckers during the winter.

So when I went over and looked out the windows on either side of my front entry door, I was surprised by what I saw. I saw 5 Blue Jays looking back at me.

I watched in dismay as they pecked away at the exterior paint on the front entry doorframe. They chipped off pieces of paint, and then they flew away, carrying away the paint chippings as they departed.

What is behind this curious behavior? And of course I tinkered with the question of was I going crazy?

I was genuinely surprised when I found two articles on this same phenomenon – both referencing Blue Jays as the culprits. Thank goodness – I wasn’t going crazy.

So of course I did what anyone would do in this day and age of information accessibility – I Googled the behavior.

So here’s what I discovered…

Apparently, during the winter, songbirds such as Blue Jays experience a calcium deficiency. They can’t properly store the calcium during the cold winter months. They need the calcium in anticipation of the coming nesting season in the spring – presumably for the formation of their own eggs. So they seek out calcium sources wherever they can find it.

So Limestone is an ingredient in paint. And Limestone is a source of calcium.

Somehow Blue Jays and other songbirds have figured out that they can get their calcium fix from exterior house paint.

Amazing! Once again, mother nature finds a way…

Okay so fantastic – I figured out what they were doing. But then the question came up of how can I stop this behavior before they destroy the entire exterior of our home?

Well thankfully the articles I found offered a great solution. Give the birds an alternative source of calcium!

Both articles recommended placing empty egg shells near the scene of the crime where the birds are continuously attacking the paint. When the birds realize that they have an alternative source of calcium, they should stop assaulting the exterior of our home.

So thankfully, we eat a lot of eggs in our home.

We placed the discarded shells of 6 eggs out on both the front and rear decks of our home this morning, and lo and behold, we watched as the Blue Jays swooped in and took all the shells.

Who knew this was even a thing?

Mike McCarty
NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316
HUD 203k Consultant # 1939

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