The Blue Jay Mating Habits
Blue jays are loyal to their mates and form lasting bonds until one of them dies. Courtship is said to begin in early May each year. A group of seven or more blue jays including one female would gather on top of a tree. When the female flies away, she will be followed by the males until she lands in another location. The males will show off by nodding their heads up and down. Of course, the female will then choose her mate and the nesting cycle comes next.
This nodding motion is typical of blue jays during courtship and when they are fighting. A clue that the bird gives up or submits itself is when it crouches down and fluffs its feathers with its crest in an erect position or what is known as the “body fluff.”
After a female blue jay picks her mate, the pair then leaves the group. The chosen one strengthens their bond by providing food to the female. This ability is very crucial since it somehow tests the male’s ability to get food for their future family. The male also brings special twigs which are carefully examined by the female before putting in their prospective nest. The nest may be situated on a hardwood tree, an evergreen or an artificial structure like a power pole or windowsill. If the pair finds the area suitable, they start looking for bigger twigs to create a platform. From there, they build a softer cup for the eggs made of roots and thin vines.
Blue jays mate when they are one year old or sometimes even earlier. This is seen as a good sign because blue birds have a short lifespan.
Female blue jays lay from three to six eggs at a time. The eggs are colored blue, green or yellow usually with spots of brown and grey. The female mostly does the incubating of the eggs although the males may sometimes share with this duty. The incubation period lasts for about 17 to 18 days. During this time, the male blue jays look for food for his mate and eventually for his offspring when the eggs have hatched.
As the hatchlings grow, both parents share in searching for food. After three weeks, the young blue jays can already feed themselves. However, they continue to stay with their parents until they are two months old and then leave their nest.