About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A closer look at the Blue Jay

Get to know your birds before the Great Backyard Birdcount (#GBBC) 

The Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata is a large common songbird at most mid-Michigan bird feeders. With their perky crest, blue, white, and black plumage and noisy calls, jays seem to polarize people into either hating or loving them. Their name “Jay” has its origins from the Latin “gaius” meaning “gay or merry.” The species name cristata originates from the Latin word crista, meaning “crested.”

I am a lover of the jays. After I fill the feeders I whistle to the jays. They give a return call and by the time I’m settled back on the couch with my tea and cat, a family of Blue Jays has appeared at the feeders for me to watch. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems, and have tight family bonds. They often mate for life, remaining with their social mate throughout the year.

Blue Jays make a large variety of calls. The most often heard is a loud jay jay. They also make clear whistled notes and gurgling sounds. The whistle I give in the morning is probably heard by a scout bird looking for breakfast possibilities. He reports back to the family with his whistle of what is available in my yard. I fill my many different feeders regularly with the best Wild Birds Unlimited Seed Blends along with nuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.

The jay family isn’t the only one listening either. Their discovery of good feeding sight is announced loudly enough that a whole community of birds eventually shows up to take their turn at the feeders. Jays also are very good at giving early warnings of hawk, cats, or other predators in the area.

Related Articles:
- Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/w4vRPP
- Blue Jays aren't blue http://bit.ly/roVPVX
- What Feeder Do You Recommend for Blue Jays? http://bit.ly/txd8ja
- Blue Jay Fun Facts http://goo.gl/wJgMmJ
- Do birds know winter is coming? http://goo.gl/EilIa6
- Why Blue Jays go bald in the fall http://goo.gl/gAX3x 

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