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Blue Jays

by Jacob Crider
Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are an intelligent and stunning bird native to forests, parks, and even neighborhoods in the Eastern and Central United States. Sporting vibrant blues, whites and blacks, their ornate plumage makes them an unmistakable bird in their native range. They are resilient species that can adapt to a multitude of habitats and have become adept at nesting in urban areas. They exist here year-round and can often be seen in small flocks flying in the canopy or foraging along the ground.
Blue Jays and other jays are members of the diverse family Corvidae, which includes other birds such as crows, ravens, and magpies. Similar to crows, Blue Jays are remarkably smart and can be very strategic and pesky around bird feeders and human establishments. Listen for loud “jay” calls along with their numerous repertoire of songs and calls.
Despite their reputation for killing other birds and scaring them away from feeders, they are not especially predatory, and their diet is mostly vegetable matter (about 75%). Their diet includes seeds, acorns, beech nuts, fruits, insects, small mammals, eggs, and sometimes frogs and other birds. They are known to stash acorns away like squirrels during the fall and can remember exactly where they stored them! This makes them an important disperser of acorns and Oak trees.
At CMNP they are very easy to locate and can be found in any area onsite. The Bird Blind at our Nature Center is a great place to see them up close, often alongside other songbirds.

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