are blue jay bird endangered

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  • Population: 500,000 – 5 million
  • Trend: Probably declining based on habitat loss
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: Probably declining based on habitat loss

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are blue jay bird endangered

  • Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
  • Population: 17 million
  • Trend: Decreasing
  • Habitat: Large, nut-bearing trees in suburbs, open woodlands, and cities with forest edges

Blue Jay range map, NatureServeThe brash and beautiful Blue Jay is seldom regarded with indifference. Some think its an aggressive bully, while others love its boisterous, sociable nature. A member of the Corvid family, related to the Common Raven and Green Jay, the Blue Jay is intelligent and adaptable — qualities that have helped it learn to successfully co-exist with people.

A Blue Jay’s ability to mimic the sounds of the Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk is impressive, despite its lack of skill compared to that of the Northern Mockingbird or Gray Catbird, which can fool many birdwatchers.

It is well known that blue jays mimic many different bird species, such as the Bald Eagle and Eastern Screech-Owl. Along with its loud calls, this bird makes a variety of squeaks, rattles, and croaks. Compare the Blue Jays many calls below.

“Bell-like” Blue Jay call:

(Audio of Blue Jay call by Eric Defonso XC114085, accessible at

Blue Jay imitating Red-tailed Hawk and actual Red-tailed Hawk:

(Audio of Blue Jay imitating Red-tailed Hawk by Todd Wilson XC44106, accessible at; Audio of Red-tailed Hawk by Ryan P. ODonnell XC79803, accessible at

Blue Jay imitating Bald Eagle and actual Bald Eagle:

(Audio of Blue Jay imitating Bald Eagle by Peter Boesman XC391461, accessible at; Audio of Bald Eagle by Paul Marvin XC165314, accessible at

The feathers of Blue Jays are actually a dull brown color, despite their vivid blue appearance. Similar to the Indigo Bunting and Eastern Bluebird, these birds have modified prismatic cells in their feathers that scatter light waves and reflect the blue spectrum waves back to the observer.

The Blue Jay is a widespread species in eastern and central North America that is still expanding to the Northwest. Its usually found in pairs, family groups, or small flocks. There are four recognized subspecies of blue jays, and their differences are negligible.

Although they migrate, blue jays usually do not go very far during their migrations in the northern portion of their range. Their migratory patterns are still not fully understood because some people may migrate one year and not the next. When the Blue Jays migrate, they do so during the day and can travel in loose flocks of up to 250 birds. These are among the rare migratory passerines, or perching birds, that you can see in action.

The Blue Jay is an omnivore, and its diet changes with the seasons. It is especially fond of acorns; to get at the meat within, a jay will grasp a nut with its powerful feet and then hammer it open with its heavy black bill.

Blue Jays are frequently spotted gathering nuts in the fall. They store the nuts for winter sustenance by flying to a storage area with the nuts in their expandable throat pouches. Jays occasionally forget a few acorns, which helps the forests reseed themselves. They cache other nuts and seeds as well.

are blue jay bird endangered

While they will raid smaller bird species’ nests for eggs and even hatchlings, Blue Jays primarily consume insects, small animals, and even carrion for protein. Blue Jays quickly take advantage of forest fragments because the larger edge habitat increases their chances of finding prey. During the nesting season, other bird species are particularly wary of Blue Jays and will mob them in order to protect their eggs and young.

Often seen visiting backyard bird feeders, the astute Blue Jay will also consume pet food left outside and has even been seen to eat smaller birds that have been stunned or killed by window strikes. Blue Jays occasionally mimic the sounds of hawks to frighten other birds into dropping or leaving food, which the jay then seizes.

In spite of their audacious behavior, Blue Jays make devoted partners who typically stay together for life. A mated couple builds their large stick nest together, with the male providing food to the female while she incubates the eggs. For the first few days following hatching, he keeps feeding the female and the chicks. After they fledge, the chicks spend the summer and fall living as a family unit with their parents.

Sometimes, pairs of blue jays will restore and reuse old nests, or they will even use a nest that someone else built.

The Blue Jay seems to do better in environments that have been altered by humans than many other birds do. Although the species is still widespread, it is susceptible to many of the same threats that affect less adapted species, including collisions, pesticide poisoning, and cat predation.

Thankfully, ABC has several programs in place to combat these threats. Two such programs are our Glass Collisions program, which provides solutions to prevent birds from hitting windows, and our Cats Indoors program, which encourages pet owners to keep cats and birds safe.

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Are Blue Jays endangered?

Conservation. Blue Jays are common, but their populations have declined by an estimated 0.6% per year for a cumulative decline of about 27% between 1966 and 2019 according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Are Blue Jays a protected species?

These days you could get in a lot of trouble for plinking a blue jay, which, like all songbirds, is protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Why are Blue Jays a nuisance?

If you keep bird feeders in your yard, you may have noticed that blue jays are kind of like the bully on the playground. They can be loud and aggressive, threatening smaller birds. It’s for this reason that blue jays are not a favorite among many avid birders.

What happened to all the Blue Jay birds?

What happened to Blue Jays? They used to be everywhere, but now they’re scarce. Habitat destruction, invasive species, pesticides and pollution, and massive insect population decline, though they do eat other things besides insects.