Guest Author - Lisa Shea
The Blue Jay is one of the more common birds in the US, and easily identifiable. With its large body, its bright blue feathers and its loud voice, this bird can be drawn by quite a variety of food. While its overbearing personality lead some birders to drive them away in annoyance, they actually serve a vital part in the birding web of life.
The Blue Jay´s scientific name is Cyanocitta cristata, and it ranges from 11" to 12.5" long. It´s primarily identified by its bright blue color, white underbelly, crest on its head and black collar around its neck.
The Blue Jay likes to live in woody areas, although it has adapted quite nicely to the gardens and back yards of suburban life. They'll eat just about anything, from seeds to insects and beetles. Sometimes blue jays will even store acorns in the bark of trees for later on.
Listen for a "queedle, queedle" musical kind of song, with the "quee" being higher than the "dle" part. It can also belt out a raucous "jay-jay" call. They live in the US east of the Rocky Mountains. They can summer far up into Canada, but retreat to the US in the winter months.
Blue Jays build their nests in tall evergreens, around 20' up. Eggs hatch in about 18 days. Both parents will care for the young chicks and will stay together for the fall.
Make your own Suet - a tasty Blue Jay treat
Blue Jays have gotten a lot of press recently because of the West Nile Virus. You do NOT get the virus from Blue Jays. You can ONLY get the virus from mosquitoes. Blue Jays just happen to get sick too, and very rarely they die. By testing dead Blue Jays, local authorities can tell if the mosquitoes in the area are infected. Blue Jays happen to work well for this purpose, even though mosquitoes can infect any animal, because there are a ton of them to start with so more are likely to die. Also, they're large enough to be easily spotted when they die. Read More about the West Nile Virus and Birding.
Many More Blue Jay Photos and Pictures
Print available from art.com