are blue jays birds of prey

Distribution and habitat

The blue jay is found in eastern and central North America, from Florida to northeastern Texas, as well as southern Canada, which includes the southern regions of provinces from Alberta eastward to Quebec and throughout the Atlantic provinces. The closely related Stellers jay’s (C) arid pine forest and scrub habitat are where the range’s western boundary ends. stelleri) usually starts in the eastern Rocky Mountain foothills. The blue jay has recently expanded its range northwest, making it a rare but frequent winter visitor along the northern US and southern Canadian Pacific Coast. [11] As the two species ranges now overlap, C. cristata may sometimes hybridize with Stellers jay. [18] The expansion of the blue jay’s range westward and the range expansions of numerous other bird species were made possible by the century-long increase in trees across the Great Plains as a result of fire suppression and tree planting[19][20]. [21][22][23] Along the Atlantic coast, the Blue Jay population declined between 1966 and 2015, but a greater than 1 Throughout the northern part of its range, which includes Labrador, Nova Scotia, southern Quebec, and southern Manitoba, there is an annual population growth of 5%. [24].

The northernmost subspecies C. c. bromia is migratory, subject to necessity. In the northernmost regions of its range, it may retreat several hundred kilometers south. There have been reports of blue jay flock migrations numbering in the thousands along the Atlantic and Great Lakes coasts. It migrates in loose flocks of five to two hundred birds during the day. Much about their migratory behavior remains a mystery. Some are found in every region of their range during the winter. Although adults are less likely to migrate than young jays, many adults do migrate. Certain jays migrate south one year, spend the winter in the north, and then return to the south the following year. Nobody has yet to find a clear explanation for why they migrate at certain times. It is probably influenced by the weather and the quantity of winter food sources, which can influence whether or not other northern birds relocate south. [25].

Within its vast range, the blue jay inhabits a range of habitats, from the Florida pine woods to the northern Ontario spruce-fir forests. It is more common in mixed woodlands with oaks and beeches than in denser forests. [15] Occurring in parks and residential areas, it has skillfully adapted to human activity. If human activity creates alternative means of subsistence for the jays, it can adapt to widespread deforestation with relative ease. [26].

Although there are four recognized subspecies, the variation within this species is essentially clinal and quite subtle. No firm boundaries can be drawn between the inland subspecies. The ranges of the coastal races are better delimited. [16].

Subspecies Common Name Description Distribution
Cyanocitta cristata bromia Oberholser, HC 1921 Northern blue jay The largest subspecies, with fairly dull plumage. Blue is rather pale. Canada and northern United States.
Cyanocitta cristata cristata Coastal blue jay The nominate subspecies, mid-sized and vivid blue. Coastal USA from North Carolina to Texas, except southern Florida
Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra Sutton, GM 1935 Interior blue jay Mid-sized, quite dark blue on mantle contrasting cleanly with very white underside. Inland USA from SE Wyoming and Nebraska to west Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas, intergrading with C. c. bromia to the north.
Cyanocitta cristata semplei Todd, 1928 Florida blue jay The smallest subspecies, much like C. c. bromia in color. Southern Florida.

The blue jay is a noisy, bold, and aggressive passerine. When left alone, it flies at a moderately slow speed (about 32–40 km/h or 20–25 mph). [27] It flies with its tail and body held level and its wings beating slowly. When it flies in open spaces, this species’ slow flying speeds make it easy prey for owls and hawks. Almost all raptors that share a sympatric range with blue jays have the potential to prey on them, particularly fast-moving raptors like Accipiter hawks. Many predators, such as tree squirrels, snakes, cats, crows, raccoons, opossums, and possibly many of the same birds of prey that attack adults, may feed on jay eggs and young until they are fledglings. [28].

Because it may chase predatory birds like hawks and owls and will scream if it sees a predator within its territory, the blue jay can be beneficial to other bird species. It can also make an alarm call when hawks or other threats are nearby, which smaller birds frequently hear and use as an excuse to flee. On occasion, it may mimic raptors’ calls, particularly those of red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, to see if a hawk is nearby. On the other hand, it might do this to frighten away other birds that might be vying for the same food sources. [25] In addition, it might be hostile to people who approach its nest; if an owl roosts close to the nest during the day, the blue jay will harass it until it moves to a new location. Nevertheless, blue jays have also been observed to prey on or murder other smaller birds as well as bat species that roost in foliage, like Eastern red bats [29]. [30] Jays are incredibly possessive birds that will drive other birds away from a feeder in search of a simpler meal. The blue jay has also been known to raid other birds’ nests, taking eggs, chicks, and nests. That being said, this may not be as common as is generally believed, since only 1% of the food matter in one study was bird material. [25] Nevertheless, other passerines have the ability to mob jays that enter their breeding grounds.

The blue crest on top of a blue jay’s head will rise when it is upset or furious. It will lower when the bird is relaxed or calm. [31] Blue jay in flight.

Like other corvids, blue jays are thought to be intelligent birds and are very curious. Tiny people willfully grab colorful or reflective items, like aluminum foil pieces or bottle caps, and toss them around until they get bored. [29] Blue jays kept in captivity have been seen utilizing newspaper strips as tools to get food, even though it hasn’t been proven that they use tools in the wild. Additionally, captive fledglings have been seen trying to open their cage doors. [33].

Diet Blue jay cracking nuts

Mid-March marks the start of the mating season, which peaks in mid-April to May and lasts until July. For nesting, any big bush or tree will do, though an evergreen is recommended. In trees, the nest is typically constructed between three and ten meters (10 to 33 feet) high. It is made up of feathers, cloth, paper, moss, tiny roots, bark strips, twigs, and other plant material. Occasionally, mud is added to the cup. Juvenile vocalizing in July.

Blue jays are not very picky about nesting locations. They will even utilize locations such as the big mailboxes that are typical of rural America if there isn’t a better option—such as in a region that has seen significant deforestation. [26] They also take over the nests of other medium-sized songbirds, provided that the nests are placed in appropriate locations. For instance, blue jays frequently use American robin nests. Fledgling in mid-June.

Blue jays typically form monogamous pair bonds for life. Although only the female raises the young, both sexes construct the nest and care for it. As the female is caring for the eggs, the male provides food for her. Typically, three to six (with an average of four or five) eggs are laid, and they take 16 to 18 days to hatch. Typically, the young fledge 17–21 days after hatching. [29].

Following their fledge, the young birds travel and feed as a family until early autumn, at which point they split up to avoid competing with one another for food throughout the winter. Sexual maturity is reached after one year of age. After becoming entangled in fishing gear and dying at least 26 years and 11 months ago, the oldest known wild, banded Blue Jay was discovered dead. It was discovered in the 1989 banding area of Newfoundland, Labrador, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon in 2016. [37] An additional wild jay was discovered to be approximately 17 1?2 years old. [38] For wild birds that make it to adulthood, a typical lifespan is about seven years. [39] A frequent cause of death in recent decades, aside from predation and the occasional collision with man-made objects, has been the West Nile virus, to which corvids appear particularly vulnerable. Still, the disease does not appear to have completely wiped out blue jay populations, despite a number of significant local declines. [28].

There is a wide range of sounds that blue jays can produce, and each individual’s calling style can differ noticeably. Like other corvids, they may learn to mimic human speech. Additionally, blue jays are so good at mimicking the cries of nearby hawks that it can occasionally be challenging to distinguish between them. [40] They have a varied voice, like most jays, but the alarm call—a loud, nearly gull-like scream—is the sound that people are most familiar with. Additionally, the bird makes a high-pitched jayer-jayer call, which gets faster as it gets more agitated. The slow-starting chick-ah-dee-ee in this call makes it easy to confuse it with the Chickadees song. With the help of these calls, blue jays will assemble in groups to fend off hawks and other potential predators and drive them away from their nests.

Additionally, blue jays have low-pitched, barely perceptible calls that they use when interacting with one another. Because it sounds so much like an old hand-operated water pump, one of this type’s most distinctive calls is sometimes referred to as the “rusty pump.” The use of call as song sets the blue jay (and other corvids) apart from most other songbirds.

Chicks hatch altricial, and they are fed by both parents. They fledge at about three weeks old. Three weeks later, they start feeding themselves, but for the first one to two, and occasionally even four, months, they still cling to their parents. In the North, this species produces a single brood; in the South, it produces two or three.

VOICE: SOUNDS BY XENO-CANTO Blue Jay has varied calls. The most common is a harsh “jay-jay-jay”, but it gives also a musical “weedle-eedle”, clear whistles and gurgling notes. There is also a high-pitched call, increasing in speed as the bird becomes excited. Blue jay utters also a mellow whistle “kloo-loo-loo”, very musical, and a softly sweet warbling during courtship. Blue Jay can mimic the calls of other birds, reproducing the Red-shouldered hawk’s calls.

REPRODUCTION: The nests of blue jays are found in big bushes or trees. They prefer pine trees. Both adults construct it in branches near the trunk. Nest is located between three and ten meters above the surface. Barks, twigs, leaves, grasses, lichens, moss, and paper are used to make bulky nests. It is a mud-shaped open cup with fine rootlets and feathers lining it. The female lays three to six different colored eggs, speckled with brown or grey and colored blue, green, or yellow. Incubation lasts about 17 to 18 days, by female. Male feeds female while she incubates, or shares incubation sometimes.

Protection, Threats, and Status: Medium-sized raptors find Blue Jays to be easy prey. Owls pluck jays from nest at night. The blue jay helps control some insect pests and bird populations. The blue jay can play a significant role in the local caterpillar control Adults remove larvae from cocoons and give several to their chicks by carrying them in their bills. Destruction of cocoons is important, helping the pest control.

BEHAVIOR: Blue Jays form flocks when they live in parks, providing a lovely and typical show. They hide seeds, nuts and acorns under the ground. They gather insects from the ground as well as from trees and shrubs to eat. They use their feet to hold the nuts they eat and their bills to crack them. Blue Jay doesn’t share. It chases other birds away from its food resources. It conceals nuts and acorns, but later on it is unable to locate them. So, nuts and acorns give life to new plants.

FAQ

Are blue jays predatory birds?

Jays are aggressive, and will drive off other birds from food and places they want for themselves, and to protect their nests. They can also be predatory, and may sometimes try to eat a smaller bird.

Are blue jays aggressive towards humans?

It may also be aggressive towards humans who come close to its nest, and if an owl roosts near the nest during the daytime the blue jay mobs it until it takes a new roost. However, blue jays have also been known to attack or kill other smaller birds, and foliage-roosting bat species such as Eastern red bats.

Are blue jays good to have around?

By caching nuts in the ground, blue jays helped spread these nut-bearing trees northward at the end of the Ice Age. This act clearly benefited numerous species of wildlife. Today, blue jays continue to move oaks around, linking stand to stand. As backyard birds go, blue jays are highly intelligent and resourceful.

Do blue jays eat baby birds or eggs?

Blue Jays are known to take and eat eggs and nestlings of other birds, but we don’t know how common this is. In an extensive study of Blue Jay feeding habits, only 1% of jays had evidence of eggs or birds in their stomachs. Most of their diet was composed of insects and nuts.