Animal stories: Blue jays
Blue Jays are the noisy and intelligent birds. They are mostly known for their beautiful plumage. They are about 9-12 inches long and weigh around 70-100 grams.
These birds are blue on top and have greyish white throat, chest and belly.
They have bright-blue crest on their head and black and white spots on the wings. Their tails have a white tip. Their bill, legs and feet are black. They also have a black ‘necklace’ on their lower throat.
Blue Jays are songbirds that sings many different songs and can sound like many other birds. They make a large variety of calls including their distinctive ‘jay-jay’. They also chatter, growl, whistle and make gurgling sounds. They frequently mimic the calls of hawks. These calls are said to provide them information that a hawk is around.
These birds are very aggressive and territorial. Many people dislike blue jays because of their harsh treatment with other songbirds like stealing and eating their eggs and nestlings. They often drive other birds away from bird feeders. Groups of blue jays often attack cats and dogs and sometimes take a swipe at the top of someone’s head as they walk by.
The favourite food of blue jays are insects and nuts. When a blue jay eats nuts, it holds the nut with its feet and cracks it open with its bill. Being omnivours, they eat fruits, acorns, seeds, mice, small fishes, snails and frogs. Sometimes they eat eggs of the other birds also. They are the seed spreaders. They often bury food to eat later. Some seeds and nuts are never recovered and grow into trees and other plants.
Blue Jays are found in forests and woodlands. They are common in deciduous forests and are also found in residential areas. They are found in southern Canada and in the United States, east of the Rock Mountains.
The nests of blue jays are made of twigs, grass, and sometimes mud, lined with rootlets. They build their nests in trees and shrubs. They usually build their nests in pine trees 10-25 feet above ground. Blue Jays have a special liking for wooded towns and even major cities where they are quite accustomed to people.
Female blue jays lay four to six brown-spotted, greenish eggs. The female incubates the eggs, although sometimes males will help. The male courts the female by feeding her constantly and continues to do so while the female incubates. Eggs hatch after about two weeks. Both parents bring food for their young ones. Young blue jays are gray-coloured until they get their adult feathers.
Young blue jays usually collect brightly coloured objects like bottle caps and pieces of aluminum foil and carry them about for awhile. Sometimes they try to peck open such objects, or they will use them as platforms and simply sit atop them until they get bored.