Blue jay Blue jay

An uncommon visitor to southwest Wyoming, this rowdy jay is anything but meek or shy!

Fun Critter Facts

WGFD Photo, Steve Kyles, Green River CWD Technician

A Blue jay sits on a branch above the photographers bird feeders in Green River.

- The only jay species found commonly east of the Great Plains, the blue jay is one of two crested jays in the US (the other being the larger and darker Steller's jay).  While fairly common along the Nebraska and South Dakota border portions of Wyoming, they are not commonly observed in the Green River Region.  However, during the fall of 2019, a "rash" of blue jays have been documented in southwest Wyoming, primarily at bird feeders.

- Like other members of the family Corvidae (crows, ravens, magpies and jays) blue jays are "smarter than the average bear (or bird in this case)" and are extremely well suited to taking advantage of humans, changing conditions and food sources.  

- Blue jays are typically associated with deciduous forests, especially those that are heavily populated with oak species.  Seasonally, acorns are a major source of food.  Many an eastern tree squirrel hunter has spent hours stalking through dried leaves up to an oak tree with acorns falling, only to find the culprit to be a blue jay instead of the intended quarry.

- Both blue and Steller's jays use their power of voice mimicry to reduce competition for food with other bird species.  They frequently mimic the calls of accipiters (goshawks, Cooper's hawks, etc) and both red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks at feeding locations (including feeders) to frighten other species, leaving the food source to them alone.

- Blue jays are omnivores, eating a variety of animal and vegetable items.  As mentioned above, acorns are a major source of food, as are fruits and a variety of cultivated seeds and grains.  Blue jays are credited with caching acorns within the ground, and are a major source of oak tree plantings throughout their range.  Nearly a quarter of their diet consists of insects, and they may eat eggs, nestlings, and small vertebrates that are injured.

- Blue jays nest in a deciduous or conifer tree, and produce one brood on an annual basis.  Clutch size ranges from a couple of eggs to 7 or 8, and young fledge about 3 weeks following hatch.  Young remain near the adults for a period of one to two months following fledging, and remain dependent on the adults for much of their food.

- Blue jays are famous for their ability to mimic sounds, including those of other birds, human voices, cats, and some machinery.   

PS: They love to dive-bomb you as you walk to the school bus................oh, the memories of growing up in N.H. and these Blue jays would always pick on us kids! Lucy Diggins-Wold :) 

 

Blue jay
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