eastern blue jay
This noisy bird is bigger than a robin but smaller than a crow. It has a bright blue, white, and black back and gray or white front. Usually it shows a crest on its head; its beak is long, pointed, and black. Many have a pronounced black “bridle” around the neck.
Blue jays are intensely social and have a wide variety of vocalizations, including mimicry. They raise and lower their crest to signal aggression or peaceful intentions. They have a reputation for being aggressive, but their defenders point out that other bird species actually dominate them frequently. They can carry several acorns in their “gular pouch,” and they cache nuts widely, thus helping seed dispersal. Their loud cries warn other birds when raptors are about.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. They are omnivores; while they do eat small animals occasionally, the adults mainly eat acorns and fruits, so the oaks along the SBG’s fringe probably attract them. They also eat insects attracted to the native trees and plants in the SBG. Taller trees (especially evergreens, of which there are a few nearby) supply nesting sites blue jays prefer – strong branches about twenty feet off the ground. The Eastern Blue Jay is an edge species, meaning that its best habitat is forest with open areas.
When can I see it?
Year-round. The species’ migration patterns are poorly understood, but it seems that they may migrate relatively short distances, so the individuals we see here in winter are not the same ones that come in the summer time.