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Our Backyard Birds: The Blue Jay


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A portrait of a Blue Jay	(Cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Jay Portrait

Our Backyard Birds: The Blue Jay

(Cyanocitta cristata)

 

Food

Blue Jays prefer peanuts (I suggest, whole roasted and unsalted), Any kind of sunflower, acorns, and suet. You can also offer them cracked or whole kernels of corn. The other foods that can attract Blue Jays are mealworms and a variety of small fruits and berries.

As always, make sure that you provide fresh clean water.


Feeders

Blue Jays will readily use any type of backyard feeder that will supply them with a steady source of raw unsalted peanuts. The most commonly used are platform feeders and hopper feeders with large perches and openings.


Appearance

Blue Jays are large crested songbirds with broad, rounded tails. They are smaller than crows but larger than robins. They are white or light gray underneath, with various shades of blue, black, and white above. Did you know that the Blue Jays aren’t actually blue? In fact, the pigment in their feathers is brown. Scattering light in the structural parts of the feathers causes us to see the blue coloration.



Information

You don’t need to be an expert to identify these colorful, loud, intelligent birds. Blue Jays are one of the most recognizable birds in North America! Mostly because few birds evoke such a vivid and striking appearance as Blue jays. Here’s another interesting fact. Can you name how many states have the Blue Jay as the State bird? Zero! Not a one! They frequently mimic the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered hawks and Red-tailed hawks. These calls may provide information to other jays that a hawk is around or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present. Blue Jays communicate with one another both vocally and with body language, using their crest. When incubating, feeding nestlings, or associating with their mate, family, or flock mates, the crest is held down; the lower the crest, the lower the bird’s aggression level. The higher the crest, the higher the bird’s aggression level; when a Blue Jay squawks, the crest is virtually always held up. Blue Jays have a wide variety of vocalizations, with an immense vocabulary.


A Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) perched among flowers
Springtime Blue Jay

I hope you found the information about the Blue Jay and attracting them to your backyard helpful. If you are new to my website or blog, welcome, and thank you for joining us. To stay updated on future Backyard Birding blog posts and receive occasional discounts and newsletters, please subscribe here. Remember to always follow the Nature First and Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them. If you know anyone who loves birds, bird photography, or backyard birding, please share this post with them.

Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view.


David




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