Birdhouses 101 - Blue Jay

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Blue Jay

About The Blue Jay

Blue JayBlue Jays are one of the most common birds to visit man-made feeders. With its distinctive bold blue pattern, it would be difficult not to recognize a Blue Jay. On the average, the Blue Jay measures in at 25-30 cm (10-12 in), with a wingspan of 34-43 cm (13-17 in) and a weight of 70-100 grams.

Considered to be a large songbird, the Blue Jay has a distinctive crest and is mostly blue all over. Its feathers are of different shades of blue. Its underparts are a bit gray-white, though, the same as its face. The Blue Jay has some black markings in the eyes and the side of its head which connects to its collar. Its wings and tail also have some black and white markings.

There is no marked difference in appearance between the male and female. The immature Blue Jay is very similar to the adults except that its coloring is more gray than blue and more brown than black.
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The Blue Jay Nesting Preferences

Blue Jays prefer to live at the edge of mixed forests. They usually build their nest on a tree branch or on the fork of a deciduous or coniferous tree. Both male and female Blue Jays work to build the nest.

A Blue Jay’s nest is usually made up of twigs, grass, bark, moss, and other plant material. It is not unusual for mud to be used as a bonding material as well. For the lining, the Blue Jay uses rootlets and other softer materials.

The nest is shaped like an open cup. It is placed anywhere from 5 to 50 feet above the ground. However, the more common height placements are somewhere in between.
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Building a Birdhouse For The Blue Jay

Blue JayBlue Jays are very easy to attract to your yard. Though they can be raucous and obnoxious, they are still very pleasant to watch. You can build an open nesting platform which Blue Jays are sure to frequent. The floor area should be 8” x 8”. A good distance from the floor to the ceiling would be 8”. You can build a sloping ceiling with partially open sides and an open front. When mounting this nesting platform, try to stay away from areas which are prone to predators. Also choose an area which has adequate shade.
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The Blue Jay Mating Habits

Blue Jays mate from March to July. Male and female Blue Jays which have paired off usually stay together throughout the whole year. Blue Jays are monogamous and usually stay a pair until one dies.
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The Blue Jay Feeding Preferences

Blue JayBlue Jays are omnivores – that is, they eat both meat and plants. For the most part, they feed on nuts and seeds. They also eat small frogs, invertebrates, and carrion. They have even been known to eat eggs of other birds as well as nestlings!
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Interesting Blue Jay Facts

•Contrary to popular belief, only 1% of Blue Jays have been proven to eat baby birds and bird eggs. This should dispel the negative publicity the Blue Jay has!

•The Blue Jay is part of the Crow family.

•The Blue Jay has its own call but it can copy the call of a hawk.

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Readers Comments

Add Your Comments

I like your orginazation

Maybe only 1%, but I saw a Blue Jay kill and eat a baby Robin today. Never knew they did this.

Bryanna   5/18/2007)
I like your website, especially the pictures. Blue Jays are awesome birds!!

Carolyn H  5/22/2007)
My husband witnessed a Blue Jay killing and eating a baby dove today. Disgusting! Id like to rid our yard of Blue Jays.

L Ray  5/29/2007)
Blue Jays desimated the finch nest in my backyard today killing two nestlings and attempting to get the third. It ended up on the ground and well see if it survives. Im not so sure about that 1%.

Diana Rose  6/7/2007)
I dont believe blue jays will not disturb other bird eggs and nestlings. Today I witnessed great crested flycatcher fledglings leave their nest and who was right there in the mix but more than one blue jay. And Ive been encouraging them in my yard, at my bird feeder. I always thought they were mauraders and now Im sure of it.

Magan Blair  6/23/2007)
Well, I thinkg you are very wrong with 1%. Last few days, every single day, I witnessed Bluejay having head in our birdhouse with hysterical little parents trying to chaise him away from their babies. Negative publicity you say? I will certainly make sure I wont attract them to our garden.

Miranda Van Dam  7/4/2007)
I found a baby blue jay in my backyard and its parents are not feeding it! What do you feed baby blue jays??

Angie  W  9/19/2007)
We have raised a Blue Jay-I know, I know, not recommended, against the law, etc. However, he is the most delightful, smartest, most playful and mischievous little guy I have ever seen. I cant imagine being without his antics.

Carrie White  2/23/2008)
My mother and I witnessed a blue jay catch and consume a hummingbird in mid air! They are beautiful, but seemably birds aggressive toward other birds.

you think im gonna put my name on this??!  3/30/2008)
blah. i need to know if mines a guy or girl!

WIll Smith  5/14/2008)
I saw a Blue Jay take a baby robin today. I was standing in my back yard when three birds flew in and were fussing at each other in the tree. Two Robins and a Blue Jay. The Blue Jay flew to the fence, then swooped down and picked up a baby on the ground and flew off. The Robins tried to stop it to no avail.

Astrid Yrigollen  5/25/2016)
Like any ominivore in times of stress ,no food, they will resort to killing. I have a mated pair of blue jays that frequent my backyard and wait for me to put out the seed. I have never wittnessed them bothering any other birds and i have had plenty of baby birds nesting in my trees. The thing is to provide seed for them on a regular basis and they become used to it and you and should not bother or go after eggs or baby birds.

It really sucks...I live in an area where hummingbirds are not plentiful and i finally got to see one hanging around a for a few days...i saw him today about ten times. Anyway, I guess theres a big 1% because unfortunately my new friend was part of the food chain with a blue jay being the winner...i'm not happy to say the least...i know its the cycle of life but if i would have seen that coming i would have interfered...i didn't know jays killed birds

Blujay Fan  5/25/2016)
I love me some blu'jays and their predatory ways. I'm trying to attract more doves to the area so that the jays will have something to chase down.

Austin Baker  5/25/2016)
i love BIUEJAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Hylas Smith  5/25/2016)
I am fascinated with my horde (flock) of Blue Jays. Yes, I've seen them steal from the nests of other birds (similar to Magpies) and I've seen them chase away a large crow who was harassing their nest. I've come to accept their behavior as part of natures plan. I also have a Marlin hawk who comes out of, it seems, nowhere at times to attack the Juncos and the Chick-a-dees. The Marlin has found his match with the Blue Jay. Although the Marlin did manage to surprise a jay one time and knock it out of the air for the most part, the jays will meet the Marlin head on and chase it away. I enjoy your website. Thank you.

Kay   5/25/2016)
I don't understand the complaining about jays killing other birds. That's nature, people. I feed a pair of jays and I consider them critical to my little ecosystem because of the neighbor's cats, who have no business being outside unattended. The noisy jays not only warn other birds, but chase the cats!

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