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Blue Jay
Blue Jay Blue Jay

Above & lower left © Kim Hosen, suburban backyard; January 2010
Lower center © Eli Hosen; Alley behind apartments, Richmond, Virginia; June 2009

Text by Jack Filiault and Devin Rollins

Blue Jay
Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jays live on the edges of forests, usually near oak trees and parks. They are long and sleek with blue, black, and white patterned wings except when they are molting, when some part of the Blue Jay turn gray. The Blue Jay also has a blue crest with a black collar.

Male and female Blue Jays are closely similar in appearance making finding a Blue Jays' gender by just observations is very difficult. They get their blue coloring from refracted light, not pigment.

The Blue Jay lives all year round in most of the Eastern half of the USA and parts of Canada.

The Blue Jay's favorite food is acorns so they usually nest near an area with oak trees. They will also raid nests of other birds and eggs as well as eat dead or dying birds (this is not a frequent occurrence) and they will also eat small vertebrates and insects.

Blue Jays are very territorial, attacking anything no matter what gets close to its nest.

. A small number of Blue Jays actually steal eggs from other bird's nest and will eat them. Blue Jays also will go to other bird's nests and steal any food in the nest.

Blue Jays are able to mimic the sound of hawks as either a defensive mechanism to keep away predators or to warn fellow Blue Jays of a nearby hawk danger.

The longest living captive Blue Jay lived 17 years 6 months (avg 15 years) but have shorter lifespans (12 years) in the wild.