There is a Jay in Europe that is just as noisy as our Blue Jay and may be the origin of jay becoming an insulting term for a foolish chattering person back in the 1500s. When slower paced country cousins came to the fast moving big city and gawked and got in the way of other pedestrians when they visited, insults were sometimes thrown.
According to Wikipedia, the legal rule was originally that "all persons have an equal right in the highway, and that in exercising the right each shall take due care not to injure other users of the way." In time, however, streets became the province of motorized traffic, both practically and legally. Automobile industries in the USA took up the cause of labeling and scorning “jay-walkers” in the 1910s and early 1920s; a counter-campaign to name and disapprove of "jay drivers" failed.
Thank you Lynn for sending this wonderful photo of a clever looking Blue Jay.
- 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