Bird Feature: Blue Jays

National Wild Bird Feeding Month is February. To celebrate, we have asked employees to name their favorite birds. This week's bird is a favorite of Justin, our Supply Chain Manager - the Blue Jay.

Identifying Blue Jays:

A large crested songbird with broad, rounded tail, Blue Jays measure on average 9-12 inches from bill to tail with a wingspan of 13-17 inches (smaller than crows and larger than robins). With a white or light gray underneath, various shades of blue above, and a bold black "necklace", the Blue Jay is aptly named and can bring a wonderfully vivid pop of color to your feeders. Its tail and wings are barred with black and it has a bold white wing bar (a distinct field mark on the top of a bird's wing caused by contrasting colors on the tips of the primary and secondary coverts). 

Blue Jays are loud birds and are often considered to be "bullies" at feeders due to their somewhat aggressive behavior. Blue Jays have been known to mimic the sounds of other animals, like hawks. It is believed that this behavior may be to either alert other Blue Jays in the area to the presence of the predator, or to scare off other birds to hog the feeders to themselves. More commonly their call is a loud distinct "jeer". Some examples of these distinct calls can be found here.

Attracting Blue Jays to Your Feeder:

Blue Jays are larger birds and prefer feeders with ample space. Tray feeders (also called platform feeders) are a great option for attracting Blue Jays and provide optimal bird viewing as well.  

Vertical feeders with extended bases like our Vertical Wave feeder or our Vertical Mesh feeder also offer larger feeding spaces for Blue Jays to feed comfortably.

Black oil sunflower seed, striped sunflower, and suet are also feeds that Blue Jays will gladly eat. The number one feed we recommend for attracting Blue Jays is peanuts. Blue Jays love peanuts! In shell peanuts or shelled peanuts are both great go-to options for attracting these blue beauties. 

Nesting:

Blue Jays build their nests in the thick outer branches of deciduous or coniferous trees, usually 10-25 feet above the ground. Both the male and female take part in gathering materials and constructing the nest. On average, the male does more gathering and female more building. Clutch sizes are typically 2-7 eggs that are light blue in hue with brown speckling. Only the female incubates the eggs while her mate brings her food. Incubation period is typically 3-4 weeks.

 

Have you seen any Blue Jays on your feeders recently?



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