Jays are brash, sometimes noisy, commonly recognized birds often found in urban
settings. Blue Jays feed on a wide array of items, and will readily attend
residential feeders for most commonly offered foods. They are extremely
intelligent, and are quick to adapt to new situations when foraging
opportunities present themselves.
Habitat: Breeds in deciduous to mixed forest, never pure
conifer stands. Can be found in a wide variety of woodland and forest
settings, including unbroken forest, forest edges and clearings, residential
areas and parks, and shelterbelts.
Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on nuts,
acorns, pine seeds, other seeds, waste grain, fruit and berries, insects, eggs
and young birds, small rodents, small reptiles, small amphibians, carrion.
Behavior: Blue Jays will use a very wide variety
of techniques for foraging, with individual birds often specializing in a
certain foraging technique and food item. They will feed from the
ground to the top levels of a forest canopy, at bird feeders, at carrion
along a roadside, etc.
Nesting: May and June in South Dakota. The nest
is a cup built of sticks, grasses, weeds, moss, and sometimes mud, built in the
crotch of a tree or on a tree branch, usually from 8 to 30 feet from the ground.
The female usually lays 4 or 5 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.
After the eggs hatch, both parents help to raise and feed the young, who leave
the nest after about 3 weeks.
Jay Song, also
Jay Call. Can make a very wide variety of vocalizations.
Migration: Generally a permanent resident, with some
occasionally moving south in the fall.
Bird Feeders: Sunflower seeds, suet, nuts
Conservation Status: Probably increasing in range and numbers,
although West Nile virus has taken a heavy toll in some areas in recent years.
They are spread over a very wide geographic region, and are common in many
areas. The IUCN
lists the Blue Jay as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Blue Jay"
Photo Information: November 15th, 2007 - Big
Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon, South Dakota - Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Blue Jay photos.