BLUE JAY

BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata)

The blue jay is a year-round resident in PEI and much of the southern part of Canada. It is very visible with its blue colors, a rare occurrence in northern birds. That blue however is not from pigments, but rather a result of light reflection. It has a crest (or crown) that will be raised when landing on a perch for example. Its boisterous calls are well known to anyone hiking in the woods, as this bird seems to want to alert the whole world – of birds that is – of the human’s presence. So much for quiet bird watching! The blue jay has a variety of calls (rather than songs) and can imitate other sounds.

Blue jays are omnivorous and will not hesitate to feed on grapes for example, if left unprotected. They will also occasionally feed on smaller birds’ hatchlings and eggs. As with crows, they will chase away raptors such as owls or hawks by mobbing them, and for good reason: because they’re relatively slow flyers, they can be an easy prey to those raptors. Blue jays, as with other members of its corvidae family, have shown some skills at obtaining food.

Blue jays are frequently seen in residential areas as well and will regularly visit feeders with sunflower seeds, one of their favorite foods. The blue jay opens up sunflower seeds the same way as the black-capped chickadee : holding it in its feet while perched on a branch, and hammering at it with its bill. Blue jays have an additional advantage though – they can literally ‘fill it up’ by stuffing their throat pouch with as many as a dozen sunflower seeds, for example, before taking off to hide them somewhere for a future meal.

Finally, the blue jay does not walk – rather it makes small hops, as can be seen in the video below, where a pair is gathering nesting material (small pieces of roots). Note the slightly larger size of the male. Both sexes are almost identical otherwise.

The Blue jay is the official bird of the province of Prince Edward Island.

Blue Jays love sunflower seeds - Summerside, PEI - Summer 2016 - © Marie Smith
Blue Jays love sunflower seeds – Summerside, PEI – Summer 2016 – © Marie Smith
The Blue Jay is the official bird of PEI - Summerside, PEI - Summer 2016 - © Marie Smith
The Blue Jay is the official bird of PEI – Summerside, PEI – Summer 2016 – © Marie Smith
Blue Jay on bird house near O'Leary, PEI - Feb. 9, 2018 - © Jodi Arsenault
Blue Jay on bird house near O’Leary, PEI – Feb. 9, 2018 – © Jodi Arsenault
Close up of a blue jay crown - Charlottetown, PEI - Feb. 18, 2017 - by Matt Beardsley
Close up of a blue jay crown – Charlottetown, PEI – Feb. 18, 2017 – by Matt Beardsley

This blue jay in the video above is foraging for food on the top of the wisteria. Toward the end of the video another blue jay can be seen behind.
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