Blue Jay Songbird Fun Facts

Adult Blue JayBlue jays are songbirds native to the Eastern North America. Some populations are migratory but most are not. At least, most blue jays don’t migrate every year. Scientists have not yet worked out a definitive pattern to blue jay migration. It seems to be irregular and dependent on weather and food. They are capable of living in many types of forests and even parks and neighborhoods.

The blue jay’s scientific name, Cyanocitta cristata, means “crested blue chatterer”, from the Greek words “kyaneos” meaning blue and “kitta” meaning chattering bird, and the Latin word “cristata” meaning crested. Blue jays have a variety of calls and can learn to mimic sounds from their environment. The most noticeable kind of call a blue jay makes is the alarm call, which sounds like a gull’s screech. They communicate to one another with quieter calls, too, which can sound squeaky.

 

Blue Jay FamilyBlue jays are known for being aggressive towards other birds. They mob other small birds who try to move into the blue jay’s territory and frequently chase even large birds away, like owls. Sometimes, blue jays impersonate the call of a hawk to scare other birds away from a food source. Blue jays are pretty slow fliers, though, and often fall prey to hawks. Additionally, they are subject to having their nests raided by raccoons, opossums, squirrels, crows, snakes, cats, and even other songbirds.

They are omnivores, but most of the diet of a blue jay comes from plants. They enjoy eating nuts, seeds, grain, berries, and insects. About 1% of their diet comes from raiding the nests of other small birds. Some blue jays have been observed hiding food to return to later.

 

Adult Blue Jay with SeedBlue jays are monogamous. Both the mother and father help to build the nest. Blue jays aren’t particular about where they build their nests. If no suitable tree is available, they will nest in mailboxes or move into the nest of a smaller bird. Only the mother sits on the eggs, though. The father brings her food while she waits for the eggs to hatch, which takes about two to three weeks. The chicks fledge another two to three weeks after hatching and the family stays together for a few months more, until the chicks can forage for food on their own. They are fully grown at a year of age.

 

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