This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
The talkative blue jay By Sherrie Versluis


ne of the most popular and widely recognized backyard birds is the blue jay (Cyanocitta

cristata). This bird is not only colour- ful in appearance but also in charac- ter. Blue jays are highly entertaining creatures that visit birdfeeders in every season and can be heard throughout the neighbourhood as they announce their presence. After several years of their population being affected by the West Nile Virus, they have made a great comeback and it's a welcome sight. The blue jay’s range is vast through-

out North America as they breed in both deciduous and coniferous forests. They are most easily identified by their bright blue plumage accented with a black collar around their neck and a white face and chest. Both the male and female are identical in appearance. Couples breed from mid-April

through late July building their nests in almost any tree, though they are partial to evergreens. Nests are perfect- ly constructed with an array of materi- als like twigs, bark, moss, cloth, paper and mud. Three to six eggs are laid and hatch within 16 to 18 days. The young fledge the nest 17 to 21 days later. The family stays together as the young are taught to forage for food until early fall when the parents force them to disperse. Blue jays are very vocal and have a

18 • Dreaming 2016

To attract blue jays Interesting blue jay facts:

They are monogamous pairs that bond for life.

They are the provincial bird for Prince Edward Island.

The oldest known blue jay was a captive bird that lived 26 years.

The common wild age is seven

years, but one was recorded to have lived over 17 years through leg- banding records.

Their feathers are not actually

blue! The unique structure of their feathers reflect light and appear

blue. If you were to crush a feather and damage that structure, the blue colour would disappear to brown.

Their love of acorns has earned

them the credit of helping to plant oak trees after the last glacial period.

wide range of calls, from their recog- nizable ‘jay jay’ scream to a calm almost warble-like sound. They are also renowned for mimicking the sounds of other birds such as hawks.

to birdfeeders

there are a few key factors to consider. One is the size of jays. They are much larger than most feeder birds so an appropriate feeder is important. A plat- form feeder is ideal as it is an open style feeder and easy to land on. Blue jays like a variety of foods like striped and black oil sunflower and cracked corn but their most favoured is peanuts. Unsalted peanuts in the shell are the ultimate attraction for jays and these can be offered on a platform feeder or in an actual peanut feeder. This allows for great viewing pleasure as the jays spend their time working at opening the peanuts. Blue jays are sometimes interpreted as being aggressive

at feeders since

most birds scatter when they arrive. As with all creatures in nature there is a hierarchy, and blue jays are high up in the songbird world. However, rather than keeping other birds from your feeding stations, they actually aid in attracting them with their calls. Jays are easily attracted to backyards with the right foods and feeders and you will be greatly rewarded with their antics should you choose to do so. 

Scan to see and hear blue jay backyard behaviours scan here or visit watch?v=KXSqCxwYdP0

Photo by Amanda Struz.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32