Sunday, January 4, 2009

Feisty, Raucous Blue Jay

This large, beautiful Blue Jay was in an old Oak tree that is in the
back yard. It is probably searching for some acorns that may be
found lying on the ground. It will look in v
ain because we had
very few acorns here in the Fall. I read a report tha
t there were
in fact very few acorns in all of Ohio this season.
What there were would have been taken long ago by the
squirrels to be horded for the Winter. It will have to make do
with the sunflower seeds from the bird feeder. The Jay's swoop
in and the smaller birds take flight.
Sometimes I throw out stale bread whic
h I tear up in pieces
for what ever may be hungry from the possums, raccoons or
the birds. The Blue Jay's and the Crow's try to out do each other
in who can get to the pieces first. The Blue Jay will stuff pieces
in its cheeks and take another piece in its beak for good measure
before it takes off.

Blue Jays are called "raiders" and have a very aggressive nature.
The bird has a variety of raucous calls and songs which often serve
as alarms for other birds when a hawk or cat or some other predator
is in the area. They have a variety of calls and can even mimic other

The Blue Jay measures 9-12 inches.
There is a pronounced crest on the head, a crown of feathers, which
may be raised or lowered may be fully raised. When frightened, the
crest bristles.

Its plumage is bright blue to mid-blue in the crest, back,wings, and
tail, and its face is white. The underside is off-white or
grayish and the neck is collared with black which extends to
the sides of the head. The wing and tail are strongly barred with
black, sky-blue and white. The bill,legs, and eyes are all black.
Males and females are nearly identical; males are slightly larger.

Some Cool Facts:

Blue Jays can make a large variety of sounds.
They may learn to mimic human speech.
Their alarm call, which is a loud, almost gull-like scream.
There is also a high-pitched jayer-jayer call that increases
in speed as the bird becomes more agitated. Blue
Jays will use these calls to band together to mob
potential predator such as hawks and drive them away
from the jays' nests.

Blue jays are very aggressive and noisy birds,driving
other birds away from food sources and their territories.
In the winter, Blue jays hide far more food than they
can eat.

Blue jays will actively defend their nests against predators.
Both parents will attack and chase hawks, raccoons, cats,
snakes, squirrels, and even humans away from their nests.

Blue Jays have strong black bills used for cracking nuts,
and acorns and for eating corn, grains and seeds, although
they also eat insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and

Many people dislike the Blue Jay because it is known
to eat the eggs and nestling's of other birds.
Most of the diet was composed of insects and nuts.

There are no direct negative effects of Blue Jays on humans,
although they may act as a reservoir for West Nile virus.


lostlandscape said...

In my part of Southern California we don't get this particular jay. Our blue bird is the scrub jay, not quite as gorgeously patterned as yours. I'd be willing to forgive it a few bad habits if it were to take up residence around here!

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to have a desire to feed the birds. We never wanted them nearby in the past, so afraid of them eating up our garden, or leaving behind nasty white messes. But I'm older and wiser now, and think that I would very much enjoy seeing them visit. We haven't a single tree in the backyard, so that's a problem right up front! And convincing hubby is a whole 'nother issue! I think once we get our deck built this spring, and I get it landscaped, I'll have more to work with. We plan to screen the whole deck with trees, so that's a start!

Debbies Doodle said...

Great information..

spookydragonfly said...

This was an interesting post Lona, I knew Blue Jays were aggresive, I didn't know just how aggresive they were! They are a pretty sight, though..good shots here!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

lostlandscape: Thanks for dropping by.They are a very pretty bird. I will have to look up the scrub jay to see what it looks like.

Robin: I enjoy watching them all year long but especially in the winter.In the summer they will pay me back by eating some of the pests.All but this big woodpecker who is shredding some of my trees out back,That is probably another post :)

Deb and spookydragonfly: Thanks for stopping by girls. I like checking up on the birds around here to see what their habits are.I just wish I could draw in some blue birds.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Last year my dad gave me acorns from his yard to feed the blue jays. They ate them all! He collected five bags for me this year and we didn't get to go home for Christmas.

I'm feeding them peanuts now, but that gets a little pricey. I love to watch them though!

JGH said...

Interesting facts! Not my favorite kind of bird but I do love that photo of the little guy on the birdbath there. He almost looks innocent. The ones in my yard are definitely bullies.