Featured Bird: Blue Jay
Fun to watch at the feeders all year long, Blue Jays really stand out during winter with their vivid blue, black, and white coloring and assertive behavior. Here are some fun facts about Blue Jays:
Range is Eastern North America from Ontario, Canada to Florida. Pine or oak tree stands are a favorite habitat.
Male and female Jays cannot be identified by color. Jays develop a new set of feathers each summer.
You may have notice Jays chasing off other birds from feeders and nesting areas. This territorial behavior is even exhibited towards dogs, cat, and even humans.
According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Blue Jays have a wide variety of vocalizations, with an immense “vocabulary.” Blue Jays are also excellent mimics. Captive Blue Jays sometimes learn to imitate human speech and meowing cats. In the wild, they often mimic Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawks, and sometimes other species.”
The crest is part of the bird’s body language – the higher the crest, the higher the aggression level.
Jays form lasting bonds with their mates. Females choose their mate from a group of males who follow her from tree to tree and posture to her by nodding their heads up and down.
Laying one brood of 2-7 eggs per season, the female is fed by the male during brooding. Hatchlings are fed by both male and female.
Their strong bills are able to crack nuts such as pine nuts, acorns, and peanuts. Insects are also an important part of the Jay’s diet as well as grains and seeds.
The average lifespan of the Blue Jay is around seven years, but the oldest tagged Jay lived to 17 years, 6 months.