The blue jay, scientific name Cyanocitta cristata is a passerine bird within the family Corvidae, native to eastern North America. It lives in a lot of the eastern and central United States; eastern populations could also be migratory. Resident populations are additionally present in Newfoundland, Canada; breeding populations are discovered throughout southern Canada.
Blue Jay bird profile
It breeds in each deciduous and coniferous forests and is common in residential areas. It is predominantly blue, with a white chest and underparts and a blue crest; it has a black, U-shaped collar around its neck and a black border behind the crest.
Males and females are related in size and plumage, and plumage doesn’t fluctuate all through the year. Four subspecies have been acknowledged.
The blue jay feeds primarily on seeds and nuts, akin to acorns, which it could disguise to eat later; smooth fruits; arthropods; and sometimes small vertebrates.
It sometimes gleans meals from bushes, shrubs, and the bottom, and generally hawks bugs from the air. Blue Jays will be very aggressive to different birds; they generally raid nests, and so they have decapitated different birds.
It builds an open cup nest within the branches of a tree; each sex takes part. The clutch perhaps two to seven eggs, that are blueish or light brown with brown spots. Young are altricial and are brooded by the feminine for 8–12 days after hatching. They could stick with their dad and mom for one to 2 months.
The name jay derives from the bird’s noisy, garrulous nature and has been utilized to different birds of the identical family, which are additionally largely gregarious. Jays are additionally referred to as jaybirds.
Blue Jay Description
The blue jay measures 22–30 cm (9–12 in) from bill to tail and weighs 70–100 g (2.5–3.5 oz), with a wingspan of 34–43 cm (13–17 in). Consistent with Bergmann’s rule, jays from Connecticut averaged 92.four g (3.26 oz) in mass, whereas jays from hotter southern Florida averaged 73.7 g (2.60 oz).
There is a pronounced crest on the top, a crown of feathers, which can be raised or lowered in response to the bird’s temper. When excited or aggressive, the crest can be totally raised.
When frightened, the crest bristles outwards, brushlike. When the bird is feeding amongst different jays or resting, the crest is flattened on the top.
Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue within the crest, back, wings, and tail, and its face is white. The underside is off-white and the neck is collared with black which extends to the edges of the top.
The wing primaries and tail are strongly barred with black, sky-blue, and white. The bill, legs, and eyes are all black. Males and females are virtually similar, however, the male is barely bigger.
As with most different blue-hued birds, the blue jay’s coloration isn’t derived from pigments however is the result of light interference as a result of the internal structure of the feathers; if a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears as a result of the construction is destroyed. This is known as structural coloration.
Blue Jay Identification
Male and feminine blue jays look-alike with a white face, throat, and chin bordered by a distinguished black necklace that extends from the nape to the breast. A skinny back eye stripe marks the face.
The head, chest, and back are bluish-purple, whereas the wings and tail are a vibrant blue with white spots and distinct black bars. The chest, stomach, and undertail coverts are white or grayish-white, and the legs and toes are black. The eyes are darkish brown-black.
Juveniles are much like adults, however have much less distinct markings, significantly on the face and head. The crest and tail are noticeably shorter on younger birds, and the plumage within the higher body is usually more grayish and fluffier than on grownup birds.
During the seasonal molt, blue jays could go quickly bald, shedding all of the feathers on their heads and necks, exhibiting the gray-black pores and skin beneath. This will be startling however is a natural a part of the molt cycle. Within a couple of weeks, all the top and facial feathers will regrow.
Blue jays are loud and noisy, although they’re uncharacteristically quiet throughout the nesting season (May-July). Their calls embody loud, strident “do-it” or “jaaaay” sounds in addition to warbling chirps.
Some birds have been heard to mimic hawk calls. Most vocalizations are used to intimidate or threaten different birds or intruders close to nesting or feeding areas.
Distribution and habitat
The blue jay happens from southern Canada (together with the southern areas of provinces from Alberta eastward to Quebec and all through the Atlantic provinces) and all through the eastern and central United States south to Florida and northeastern Texas.
The western fringe of the range stops the place the arid pine forest and scrub habitat of the carefully associated Steller’s jay (C. stelleri) begins, typically within the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
From 1966-2015 the Blue Jay skilled inhabitants decline alongside the Atlantic coast, however, a higher than 1.5% annual inhabitants improve all through the northern part of its range, together with Labrador, Nova Scotia, southern Quebec, and southern Manitoba.
Blue Jay Behavior
The blue jay is a loud, daring, and aggressive passerine. It is a reasonably sluggish flier (roughly 32–40 km/h (20–25 mph)) when unprovoked. It flies with body and tail held stage, with sluggish wing beats.
Its sluggish flying speeds make this species simple prey for hawks and owls when it flies in open areas. Virtually all of the raptorial birds sympatric in distribution with the blue jay could prey upon it, particularly swift bird-hunting specialists such because the Accipiter hawks.
Diverse predators could prey on jay eggs and younger as much as their fledgling stage, together with tree squirrels, snakes, cats, crows, raccoons, opossums, different jays, and probably most of the similar birds of prey who assault adults.
The blue jay will be helpful to different bird species, as it could chase predatory birds, akin to hawks and owls, and can scream if it sees a predator inside its territory.
It has additionally been recognized to sound an alarm name when hawks or different risks are close to, and smaller birds usually acknowledge this name and conceal themselves away accordingly.
It could sometimes impersonate the calls of raptors, particularly these of the red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, probably to check if a hawk is within the neighborhood, although additionally probably to scare off different birds which will compete for meals sources.
Blue Jay Diet
Whole peanuts and different shelled meals gadgets are carried off within the beak to be handled at leisure.
Blue jays have robust black payments which they use for cracking nuts, often whereas holding them with their toes, and for consuming corn, grains and seeds.
Its meals are sought each on the bottom and in bushes and consists of just about all recognized varieties of plant and animal sources, akin to acorns and beech mast, weed seeds, grain, fruits and different berries, peanuts, bread, meat, small invertebrates of many varieties, scraps on the town parks, bird-table meals and infrequently eggs and nestlings.
Blue Jay Reproduction
The mating season begins in mid-March, peaks in mid-April to May, and extends into July. Any appropriate tree or giant bush could also be used for nesting, although an evergreen is most well-liked.
The nest is preferentially constructed at a top within the bushes of three to 10 m (9.8 to 32.8 ft). It is cup-shaped and composed of twigs, small roots, bark strips, moss, different plant materials, material, paper, and feathers, with occasional mud added to the cup.
Blue jays will not be very choosy about nesting places. If no higher place is accessible – e.g. in a closely deforested space – they’ll even use locations like the big mailboxes typical of the agricultural United States.
They additionally applicable nests of different mid-sized songbirds as long as these are positioned in appropriate spots; American robin nests are generally utilized by blue jays, for instance.
Blue jays sometimes kind of monogamous pair bonds for all times. Both sexes construct the nest and rear the younger, although solely the feminine broods them. The male feeds the feminine whereas she is brooding the eggs.
There are often between Three and 6 (averaging four or 5) eggs laid and incubated over 16–18 days. The younger fledge often between 17–21 days after hatching.
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Blue Jay bird Vocalizations
Blue jays could make a big number of sounds, and people could fluctuate perceptibly of their calling fashion. Like different corvids, they might study to imitate human speech.
Blue jays may copy the cries of native hawks so effectively that it’s generally tough to inform which it’s. Their voice is typical of most jays in being various.
However, essentially the most generally acknowledged sound is the alarm name, which is a loud, virtually gull-like scream. There can also be a high-pitched jayer-jayer name that will increase in pace because the bird turns more agitated.
Blue jays even have quiet, virtually subliminal calls which they use amongst themselves in proximity.
One of essentially the most distinctive calls of this kind is sometimes called the “rusty pump” owing to its squeaky resemblance to the sound of an old hand-operated water pump. Learn more about marbled murrelet.