• Mating: Monogamous; birds form a pair and work together to rear the young.
• Peak Breeding Activity: March-July
• Incubation: 17-18 days
• Clutch Size: 3-6 eggs
• Young Fledge: 17-21 days after hatching
• Typical Foods: Omnivorous: including nuts, seeds, insects, mice, frogs, and robbing other nests for small songbirds and bird eggs
The blue jay is bright blue on top and white underneath. The wings and tail are heavily streaked with black; the tail has white outer feathers; and the face has prominent black markings. It is also conspicuously crested. The sexes are similar.
Habitat and Habits
This handsome bird is a common winter resident, although they can be highly migratory, and we may get many more in the spring and fall. At one time their habitat was primarily oak woods, but they are now common in city parks and wooded suburban areas. Sometimes they are seen chasing smaller birds away from feeders. They migrate during the day - one of the few songbirds that do so - in small flocks. The loud screams of the jay act as an effective alarm system, alerting all of the other animals within earshot of the presence of intruders. They can be skilled mimics, often imitating the call of the red-shouldered hawk, in particular.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Blue jays build loose nests made of barks, twigs, leaves, and grasses in trees and shrubs. Females usually incubate the eggs while the male brings food to the her.