Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristala) belongs to Corvidae family. The name jay is given to these birds because of their noisy and garrulous nature. These birds are native to eastern North America. They can also be found in southern Canada, eastern and central United States. They live in coniferous forests.
These birds have blue appearance. They exhibit white coloured underparts of the body as well as chest, U shaped black collar around neck and black border behind the blue crest. Both males and females are quite similar except in size. Their diet includes seeds, nuts, fruits, arthropods and some small vertebrates. Sometimes they can become aggressive and raid nests. These birds are monogamous and mate for life. The breeding season starts in winter. Nests are cup shaped that are made in the branches of trees.
They have average size of about 9 inches to 12 inches, average weight of about 2.7 ounces to 3.5 ounces, average wingspan of about 13 inches to 17 inches. They exhibit top speed of about 25 miles per hour.
Predators of these birds include cats, falcons, raccoons and owls. They are listed as least concerned by International Union for Conservation of Nature. They can live up to 7 years.
Blue Jay Habitat:
Blue jays are native to North America. They can also be found in Canada besides some parts of the United States. These birds inhabit coniferous forests. They live in oak and beech trees. They can easily be recognized in city parks or any residential areas because they are one of the most loudest and colourful birds.
Blue Jay Facts:
Some of the facts about Blue jay are as follows,
- Blue jays are native to North America.
- They are omnivores and can eat grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles.
- The name of young one is called as nestling.
- These birds are well known for removing harmful acids by rubbing ants on their feathers.
- There are 13 million Blue jays in the world.
- The most distinctive features of these birds are their “jay-jay” calls and their bright blue feathers.
- They exhibit brown pigment in their feathers. Overall they are blue coloured.
- They inhabit low forest areas, city parks, oak and beech trees and residential areas.
- They are diurnal and sociable.
- They are known for their imitating nature. They can imitate hawk calls.
- They reach sexual maturity at the age of about 1 year.
- Their age of weaning is 17 to 21 days.
- Some of the predators of these birds are cats, raccoons, hawks and owls.
- Beside predators, collision with man-made structures is another major threat to these birds.
- They are recorded as “least concern” by IUCN.
- Their average lifespan is 7 years.
Blue Jay Lifespan:
The average lifespan of Blue jays is 7 years. The oldest Blue jay recorded lived for about 17 years and 6 months.
Blue Jay Spiritual Meaning:
Blue jay represents joy, loyalty, solidarity, patience and happiness. This bird teaches us to remain hopeful in adversaries and never let go of the joy.
It also symbolizes loudness, noise, shrillness, mischief, mimicry and changeability. It is also a part of many North American myths. It is important to Sioux, Chinooks and the Coast Salish tribes. It lacks the symbolism of the Old World tribes. The Coast Salish tribes believe that Blue jay replaced the Raven as trickster figure because they both are closely related.
Blue jay was also considered to be a bad power and noisy, prideful, arrogant, selfish birds. That’s why some old people believed that when someone sees a blue jay then it means that there are some jealous people around praying against him.
Blue Jay Eggs:
Blue jays are monogamous and they mate for life. They are well known for their partnership skills. The breeding season occurs in winter. The cup shaped nests are made with the help of twigs, moss, foliage, barks and leaves. After the formation of nest, female lays 3 to 5 eggs. The incubation period is about 16 to 18 days. During this time, male performs the task of feeding the mother. After hatching, the young one will remain with its parents for about 2 months. Both the parents take care of the young one.
Blue Jay Attack:
Blue jays are known as aggressive and territorial birds. They attack the predators and intruders from which they feel any danger. Besides their aggressive nature, they are also very social and live in groups. They often make noisy calls such as jay-jay, chattering, growling and whistles.
Blue Jay Adaptations:
Some of the adaptations exhibited by Blue jays are as follows,
- Blue jays have hollow bones that make their flight easy by making them light weight.
- They have unique tail to steer them during flight.
- They exhibit flexibility in diet so that they can survive in variety of environments.
- They often lower their crests while feeding with their families.
- There is a pigment in the feathers of these birds that is called as melanin (brown). The blue colour is produced by scattering of light through the cells on the surface of barbs of feathers.
- They have soft feathers that help in thermal insulation. This feature keeps these birds in optimum temperature conditions.
- They fly away from the predators because of their wings.
- They sit on branches with the help of claws.
- They also snatch food with the help of their claws.
- They eat variety of foods including seeds, nuts, caterpillars, beetles and small bugs.
- They are known for their aggressive nature. That’s why other birds rarely reach their territories.
Blue Jay Diet:
Blue jays are omnivores. They feed on seeds, nuts, mice, insects, frogs. They can also rob other nests for eggs and small songbirds. These birds hold the nuts with their feet and crack the nut’s shell with their bills. They also exhibit stealing of food from other birds’ nests. They sometimes store seeds for later use.
Blue Jay Characteristics:
Some of the characteristics of Blue jay are as follows,
- Blue jays are white faced birds.
- They exhibit blue crest, wings, back and tail.
- The collar around the neck, the bills, feet, legs and eyes are black coloured.
- They are able to crack acorns and cocoons with the help of their heavy bill.
- Males and females are identical. The only difference is slight large size of males.
- They are known for their noisy calls, intelligence, social behavior and strong family bonds.
Blue Jay Flying:
The average wingspan of Blue jay is 13 inches to 17 inches. The flying Blue jay means determinance, intelligence, courage and protection. It represents safety from all the ills of the world.
Blue Jay Female Vs Male:
Blue jay males and females are similar in appearance. Males are slightly larger as compared to females. The only way to differentiate between males and females is to observe their behavior.
- The birds that court other birds are males because males court females.
- The birds that brood the eggs are females because females incubate the eggs.
Blue Jay Growth Stages:
The several growth stages of Blue jays are as follows,
Females lay 3 to 5 eggs after making nest from twigs, moss, foliage and leaves. The eggs are green, blue or yellow in colour. The incubation period is about 17 to 18 days. The male collects food while female sits on eggs.
After hatching, the baby blue jays are featherless, have closed eyes and are helpless. After brooding, both the male and female gather food for their nestlings. During nestling stage, the bird’s eyes become opened. They also become stronger than before because of the development of slight feathers.
When babies become 17 to 21 days old, they will leave the nest with their parents. The young ones are further fed by their parents for 1 to 2 weeks even after leaving the nest. The young ones are often misunderstood as abandoned. After some time the juvenile blue jays become similar to adults. However they don’t exhibit crests. They are gray and white coloured with less blue and black coloration.
The Blue jays are songbirds that are native to North America. They are one of the most colourful and loudest birds that are the part of many myths. Their name is derived from their “jay-jay” call. They are well known for their imitating behaviors. Some of them undergo migration and they make lifelong bonds.