The Beautiful Blue Jay
The Blue Jay is a very common large North American songbird
many people are familiar with. It has a blue crest and blue,
white and black plumage. It also has a very noisy call. Blue
Jays are members of the Corvidae family of birds, along with
Blackbird and many others.
Blue Jays are larger than
Robins but not as big as Crows,
usually measuring from nine to twelve inches long in body
and thirteen to seventeen inches in wingspread. They are a
white or light gray underneath with many different shades of
blue, black and white on top. The face is white and the
legs, eyes and bill are black. Males are slightly larger
than females, but otherwise the genders are basically
Both male and female Blue Jays have a large head crest that
is raised or lowered according to the bird's mood, being
raised when the bird is aggressive or excited and bristled
when frightened, and a broad, round blue tail with black
Blue Jays are noisy birds and have many different calls that
carry for a long way. Most calls are made when the Jay is
perched in a tree. Blue Jays usually fly silently,
especially during migration. The migration pattern of the
Blue Jay is really unknown even today.
Blue Jays have complex social systems and family bonds and
are known for their intelligence. They are very aggressive,
adaptable and intelligent and their territory continues to
spread across the USA. Some individuals have even managed to
reach the Pacific coast and have hybridized with the
Stellar's Jay there.
The diet of the Blue Jay is primarily nuts, acorns and
seeds, but they will eat insects as well. They often stuff
food in a throat pouch, and then eat it later in a safe tree
perch. When they eat they hold seeds or nuts in their feet
and peck open the shells.
They are also fond of acorns and are given credit for having
helped to spread Oak trees across the continent after the
last glacial period. Like the others of their bird family,
they are also accomplished thieves and will snatch your
picnic lunch or your just planted garden seeds if they have
Blue Jays can mimic other birds, especially birds of prey.
But it is unclear why they do this, whether it is to warn
other Jays in the area that there is a hawk or because they
want to intimidate other birds and so protect their feeding
areas. They have, like other corvids, also been known to
Blue Jays prefer forest edges to make their home. You can
find them on the edges of the forest, in wooded lots, towns,
cities and parks. If you live in Blue Jay territory you
quite likely will see them at your bird feeder as well,
possibly dominating the feeder.
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