Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are common North American songbirds that are members of the Corvidae family, other members of which include crows, ravens, and magpies. Blue Jays can be found throughout most of eastern and central North America from the Gulf Coast to southern Canada.
Blue jays can be identified by the prominent crests on their heads, white underbellies and mix of blue, black, and white coloration on their backs and wings. Smaller than crows but larger than robins, adult blue jays have wingspans of 13-17 inches and weigh less than four ounces.
Blue jays are more abundant on forest edges than in deep woods and are thus ideally suited to living in urban and suburban areas. They are extremely attracted to bird feeders, and will eat a large variety of seeds and acorns. As omnivores, insects, bird eggs and other immature or weak birds may also make up part of the blue jay’s diet. Blue jays will also cache acorns for later consumption and occasionally forget about them, helping spread the growth of forests.
Blue jays build their nests 10-25 feet off the ground, usually in the crotch of a tree. Nestlings are born to a mated pair after 8-12 days of incubation, and will leave the nest at 17-21 days old. Though some blue jays do migrate, it is estimated that 80% of them remain year-round residents for life; this can be a long time, as blue jays can live for 17 years.
Like all corvids, blue jays are considered quite intelligent. In the wild they are capable of mimicking the calls of other birds, often hawks, to drive others away from bird feeders; in captivity they may even learn to mimic human speech.
BLUE JAY FACTS
A single blue jay may cache up to 5,000 acorns in a single year for later consumption.
Compared to other birds their size blue jays are slow fliers, usually only attaining speeds of 20-25mph.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Texas Parks & Wildlife