The Blue Jay Nesting Preferences
Blue jays prefer to live in mixed wood and deciduous forests, parks and residential areas in the different parts of eastern North America. Their range spans the areas of Newfoundland to central Alberta in Canada and south to Florida and the eastern part of Texas. They occupy habitats such as pine woods and fir trees in forests notably those that have clearings. They can also be found in suburban locations and city parks.
Although they are typically noisy birds, blue jays tend to be quiet when in their nest. Their nests are located at a height between eight and 30 feet usually on top of a coniferous or deciduous tree. These passerine birds make use of sticks, barks, leaves, roots, twigs and grass in making their cup-shaped nests atop trees or shrubs.
A pair of blue jays begins to build their nest after the courtship period when the female has chosen her future mate from a group of birds. Once the female has accepted the male among several competing jays, they fly away from the group and search for an area where to build their home. Potential nesting areas would be a hardwood tree, an evergreen, a power pole or even a windowsill.
Initially, the male jay will bring special twigs for the female which, in turn, examines the twigs. If the area is suitable, the pair then looks for bigger twigs which they will use to build a platform. After about two days, they will then form an inner cup made of softer materials like roots, grass and vines.
Blue jays have been known to include at least one white material in the outer part of their nest. In nesting areas away from human activity, the white matter can be a bark or a light-colored leaf. Those in the urban areas, meanwhile, use any material available from paper and towels to candy wrappers and pieces of cloth. Some researchers have even found surveyor’s tape and six-pack holders of plastic bottles the blue jays picked from the roadside.
The females usually stay in the nest most of the time while the male hunts for food. The female also does most of the incubating of the eggs after laying them although in some cases, the male can substitute. There are also times when the female jay joins her mate in another tree nearby where she displays the begging position and is then fed.