Info on Blue Jays

Importance

Blue Jays play and important role in the ecosystem. They love acrons, and are often found near oaks in forested and urban habiations. Blue Jays will cache (hide) extra food which has played a role in forest restoration.

Blue Jay populations decreased by a quarter in the last 50 years but the breeding population is still around 13 million, so conservationists have categorized the Blue Jay as Least Concern.

Fun Facts 

  • Blue Jays are 1012 inches long and weigh between two and four ounces.

  • The oldest known wild blue jay lived almost 27 years. They live seven years in the wild and much longer in captivity.

  • Like other corvids, Blue Jays are tricksters. They frequently mimic the calls of Redshouldered Hawk. If you want to get rid of competition from other species for food, this is a great way to scare your rivals off.

  • Blue Jay feathers get their color from melanin, which is brown. The way the light reflects off the surface of the feathers causes them to appear blue.

  • Blue Jays communicate with their crests, which are down when they are relaxed and up when they are aggressive.

Blue Jays in Virginia

Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are native to Virginia. They live in urban areas and are adapted to live with humans. 

Blue Jay Reproduction:

Blue Jays have tight family and social bonds, including staying with the same mate for life. Nest building is a collaborative effort, although the male generally gathers more of the nesting material and the female does more of the building. A female lays between 2-7 eggs, which will hatch approximately 17 days later. During incubation, her mate brings her food so that she does not leave the eggs.

Fledgling BLue Jays:

A female will brood her chicks for the first 10 days and then join her mate in gathering food. Blue Jays eat nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. They will also eat carrion. Between 17-21 days after hatching, the chicks will leave the nest as a group but will stay in the vicinity so their parents can still tend to them. Babies have shorter tails than adults and bright pink mouths.

Juvinile Blue Jay:

In the fall you may see groups of blue jays, many of whom might be juveniles who are taking their first steps towards independence. Jays are very social, non-territorial, and so join with others during the winter months. These groups will all return to the same feeding stations, even if others are available, not only during one winter but in successive years.

Alexandria, VA 22312
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