Blue Jays are passerines in
the Corvidae family which groups them together with
Crows, Jays and Magpies. They are known for being
aggressive towards other birds. Blue Jays are 11.5
inches (29 cm) in size. They are monochromatic which
means that males and females are similar in appearance.
They have blue upperparts and white underparts and a
blue crest. Blue Jays have a black collar, eyeline and
necklace. They have bright blue wings with black bars
and white corners. Over the past 100 years, Blue Jays
have become very tolerant of humans.
Photo: Nick Glabicky
Blue Jays live in a great
range of woodlands including deciduous,
coniferous, mixed forests and also in urban areas such
as in towns and residential areas. They prefer
those with large oaks or other mast-producing trees.
Blue Jays live year-round from south Canada to southern
Florida and from the Atlantic Ocean to central Texas.
Flocks of 5,000 Blue Jays will gather at Point Pelee
National Park in Ontario before they migrate south over
The diet of the Blue Jay
consists of insects, carrion, bird eggs and acorns. They
forage mainly by picking up items from the ground. They
prefer to eat acorns and nuts from trees and will
commonly cache these nuts for later. Also, large and
hard foods like nuts, dragonflies and eggs will be held
by the Blue Jay's feet and will be broken when the Jay
hammers it with their beak.
Photo: M. Noonan
Blue Jays have a monogamous
mating system and up to 2 broods per season in the north
and up to 3 in the south. Both sexes will construct the
cup shaped nest on horizontal branch. Occasionally, they
will take nests from other passerines. The female lays
4-5 eggs and incubates them for 16-18 days with some
help from the male. Young have altricial development
which means they are blind, helpless and immobile. Both
parents care for young for 17-21 days after hatching.
Photo: M. Noonan
WHERE TO FIND THEM
Blue Jays are
commonly seen by feeders near in a large variety of woodlands and
even in urban areas. This bird is usually seen in pairs or small
groups and they are permanent residents of WNY.