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Bird of the Month

Blue Jay

Bad Boys of the Backyard”

Blue Jays get a bad rap because they are raucous and often scare other birds from the bird feeder and have even been known to predate nestlings from other birds nests, but they are also very intelligent and are one of the first to sound the warning call when predators are nearby. In my opinion, they are stunning birds and if I didn't see them all the time, I would most likely marvel at them even more. They are members of the Corvid family along with crows and ravens.

Blue Jays adore peanuts, especially peanuts in the shell. There are special feeders designed for this such as the one shown in one of the photos below. As soon as one bird sees that peanuts have been set out for them, it immediately lets out a loud “caw”, alerting any nearby jays who within minutes descend in a feeding frenzy.

Although they are year-round residents in most of the areas they reside, they also migrate but little is known about these patterns. It is striking to me that with all that we do know about jays, there is still so much we do not know. Some indications are that if acorn production is low in one area, jays will move to areas with better acorn supplies.

Jays make many vocalizations including alarm calls, what I call “monkey” calls (sometimes I feel like I am in a jungle when they do this), and even mimic hawks, especially Red-shouldered Hawks. Even Jim who is familiar with these calls can get fooled by them.

The oldest known bird was almost 27 years old! (All About Birds)




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