BirdHouses 101

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About The Blue Jay

The blue jay is a member of the crow family or corvidae that includes ravens, rooks, jackdaws and magpies. The fossil remains of this bird were discovered from Miocene deposits more than 25 million years ago. Its scientific name “cyanocitta cristata” comes from Greek and Latin words which mean crested, blue chattering bird.

Blue jays are native to the Nearctic region and are mostly found in Southern Canada such as in Newfoundland and Alberta as well as in northeastern Texas, southern Florida and in the east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. According to a survey on breeding birds, the blue jay population across the U.S., especially in the east, has slightly decreased. The drop in their numbers is attributed to the migrant species although no concrete proof has been found.

This passerine bird measuring between nine to 12 inches in length is known for its bright blue and white color. It’s blue on top and white to gray from the throat down to its belly. The blue color of the bird’s feather is not actually blue because it is only an effect of refraction or light distortion. Its lower throat also has a so-called black necklace. The blue jay can also be distinguished by its gray-blue crest on top of its head and wings and tails that have black and white bars. As for its bill, legs and feet, they are all colored black.

Blue jays normally live to an average of seven years old but researchers have found that the oldest blue jay in the wild had lived up to 17 years and six months old. The oldest blue jay in captivity was a female and lived for up to 26 years and three months.

The blue jay is partly a migratory bird. It was recently discovered that its range has extended to the northwest with some of them seen migrating along the northern Pacific coast during autumn. Blue jays migrate during the day usually in flocks of about five to 200 birds to some hundred kilometers south of its range. They live in different habitats within its range such as the pine woods in Florida and the fir forests in northern Ontario, Canada.

Blue jays are also loud birds. They make lots of noise and various sounds from the jay-jay and bell-like sounds to whistles, growls and chatters. In fact, the blue jay can even imitate the scream of a hawk. But although they are noisy birds, the blue jays become quiet as they fly high together during migration.

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11/21/2017  13:35:43