Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Description
Blue jays are bright blue medium sized birds with blue head crests, black wing markings and black necklaces.
Life History

Bright and bold, blue jays often travel in noisy family groups in late summer and fall. Their arrival at a bird feeder tends to clear the area of smaller birds. Blue jays are known to eat the eggs and young of other birds and often frighten the adults off the nest by imitating the call of a hawk. Groups of blue jays often attack owls, which they consider a threat.

Blue jays are one of the few birds that store food for use at another time. Blue jays eat insects and other invertebrates, small vertebrates including nestlings of other species, carrion, eggs, fruits and seeds. They use a number of behaviors to obtain food and defend themselves. In late summer, fall and winter they travel in large aggressive flocks that frighten other birds off of feeding areas and make predators think twice about bothering them. They use the call of hawks to frighten other birds. Females rarely leave the nest while incubating or rearing young. Males bring them food during this time.

Blue jays are generally unafraid of humans. In fact they have used human settlements in the west, with their resulting increase in food, water and vegetation, to expand their range. Most birdwatchers have mixed feelings about blue jays. They dislike their noisy aggressive behavior but appreciate their bold bright colors and cocky self assurance. In addition to their raucous, shrill side, jays can also emit a soft, low song and are unusually tame around humans.

Distribution
Blue jays are generally nonmigratory and are found throughout the eastern half of Texas, the U.S. and Canada. They have been expanding their range westward in urban and suburban areas due to habitat modification by humans.
Other
Early Texas folklore relates a tale of the blue jay being yoked to a plow by a sparrow. The mark left by the yoke can still be seen on the blue jay's breast.

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