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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter blues are always welcome

Photo by Rodney Campbell
The hard landing of the Blue Jay at my window feeder is a welcome interruption from working at my desk. Blue jays are highly adaptable and intelligent birds. Their noisy presence around my bird feeders is always fun to watch on cold, dreary days.

Their migration is a bit of a mystery to scientists. We have Blue Jays year-round in Michigan but some individual birds may migrate south one year and not the next. It is unclear what factors determine whether a blue jay or family decides if they want to spend the winter in the north or south.

Blue jays have a bad reputation (unfounded in my book) as bully birds. In fact, they are largely vegetarian with a diet composed of a lot of nuts and seeds with the occasional bug or suet on the side. Their poor flight makes it hard for them to stick a landing at the feeders and sometime that might "accidentally" push off smaller birds. Unfortunately their slow flight, also makes them easy prey when flying in open areas.

This may be why they are fairly social and are found typically in pairs, family groups or small flocks. Jays have a lookout bird to watch for hawks, owls, or another predators while at a feeding area. If danger is close, you and all the surrounding wildlife will know it as they give the warning Jay! Jay! call. Other jays will then join in to help make noise to drive the predator away. Smaller birds go quickly into hiding, letting jays do the dangerous work.

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