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Blue JayBlue Jay

Blue Jays are attracted to feeders and water in the backyard, just like many of our other favorite songbirds.

Identification and Pictures

Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are a very attractive bird, a little larger than an American robin, about 11 to 12 inches. Both male, and female are blue above with a crest, and a black necklace.  The wings and tail have spotted white, and black markings.  They are dull gray to whitish below.Blue Jay

Habitat

They can be found in woodlands, parks, and your backyard feeders across central and eastern U.S., and southern Canada year round. They have a wide expanding range in the western U.S. and much of southern Canada.  

 


Breeding and Nesting

Blue Jay
photo Dave Menke US Wildlife

 

Breeding season is April to May.  They breed in mixed wooded areas usually near open space. They like oaks and, pinewoods as well as gardens.

Nests are built in trees or shrubs, sometimes in a tree cavity. Both adults will build a nest with twigs, grass, strips of bark, feathers, rags, and even paper.  Mud may be used as mortar.

Blue Jays can have more than one brood in a season.  The female will incubate 4 to 6 eggs.  Eggs are smooth and glossy.  They can be pinkish, green, bluish, or pale olive.  They are specked with brown, olive or purple.

The young birds are attended by both adults, and can leave the nest in around 3 weeks.

Blue Jay Song

Blue Jay call:  Click for Sound
Blue Jay Too-lool Click for Sound

They are a very noisy bird with a harsh jay, or a musical wheeedlee or too-lool.  Soft nasal notes are given when the birds are close.  Blue jays will often mimic the call of hawks.  They will often do this at feeders to scare the other birds away, then the jays will take over the feeder.

Food and Feeders

Along with goldfinches, juncos, Tree sparrows, and others, Blue jays will visit your backyard feeders.

Some people would just as soon not have Blue Jays at their feeders because they consider them bullies.  It seems that in some areas they have these aggressive traits, and in others they don't.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.

Jay posters Jay posters

To learn about other favorite birds click here.

 
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