Mark Twain, a fan of the beautiful and graceful blue jay, once said, “There’s more to a jay than any other creature. You can call a jay a bird. Well, to some extent it is because it has the feathers and maybe he doesn’t belong to any church, but otherwise, he’s human like you and me. ”
A passerine bird, the blue jay is native to North America and can also be found in the eastern and central parts of the United States. Some of the populations of this bird are also known to be migratory. These birds are known to be forest dwellers and are highly adaptable and intelligent by nature. They are known for being able to mimic the calls of hawks and are particularly famous for their “jay jay” call.
- These birds carry a brown pigment in their feathers. However, they are blue.
- These birds are known to rub ants on their feathers.
- Blue cats also pick up paint chips.
- They can mimic the calls of hawks.
- They are known to get louder as autumn rolls in and softens during the spring and summer months.
The blue jay is known by the scientific name Cyanocitta cristata and belongs to the Corvid family. It comes from the class of birds and the kingdom of the Animalia. They get their blue name “jay” from the noises that are known to make them sound exactly the same.
There are several subspecies of blue jay: Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra, Cyanocitta cristata bromine, Cyanocitta cristata, and Cyanocitta cristata simple. Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra is found primarily in the southeastern United States in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and parts of Wyoming and Texas. Cyanocitta cristata bromine is found in parts of the central United States, although it is also found in the southern region of Canada. While Cyanocitta cristata cristata is native to the eastern United States, Cyanocitta cristata simple is found exclusively in southern Florida.
The symbolism of a Blue Jay
The symbolism of the blue jay is vitality, intellect, and clarity. They are known to be songbirds who love to sing in their spare time and their creativity is well known too. These birds are often used as totem poles, but they lack the symbolism that Old World birds have, as they are native to the Northern Hemisphere. However, in the Sioux, Chinook, and Coast Salish tribes, it has found a home in many myths and stories.
European folklore also has a special place for blue jays. Many people believe that the bird is deceptive, imitates other creatures, and preserves the secret location of its nest. One story, told by both Europeans and Americans, suggests that the original blue jay was much larger than the bird that is known today.
Legend has it that the great Jay was held captive by people who used him to help them plow their land. To avoid being caught and enslaved again, the bird urged the Great Spirit to make it a fraction of its size. The details on his chest are presumably remnants of the marks he received while plowing for humans.
They have also been related to the great oaks due to the planting they carry out, leading many Celts to see them as a reincarnated soul of the Druids. As a spirit animal, the blue jay represents longevity in relationships, be they romantic or platonic in nature. Perhaps this is due to their monogamous habits.
Appearance and Behavior
As the name suggests, this bird is blue. However, the color comes from a brown pigment that is present in their feathers. The bird stands 9 to 12 inches tall and weighs only 2.5 to 3.5 ounces.
The beak of its head is blue while the coat color turns gray or white towards the bird’s throat and this gray or white fur continues up to its chest and beyond its belly. The crest of its head is grayish-blue in color and the bird has a black and white bard on its tail and wings, making it uniquely distinguishable. A black band that looks like a necklace runs down her throat.
In terms of behavior, the blue jay is known to be an aggressive creature and is a territorial bird. These birds do not avoid attacking possible intruders or predators from which they perceive danger. Although they are aggressive, they are social and often exist in groups.
This bird is also known to be very vocal, often making different noises to communicate. It is particularly famous for its “jay-jay” noise which also gives it its name. Some other noises this bird makes include growling, chattering, and hissing.
Blue Jay Reproduction and Life Cycle
Blue jays are known to be pairing birds that mate for life to death and display exemplary association skills in raising their chicks. Females often choose males to mate with. The process begins at the end of winter.
Once the baby is conceived, the couple begin building more partially completed nests for the unborn offspring. After building a few nests, the pair usually settle in one place. The nests are finally prepared with the help of moss, twigs, foliage, leaves, and bark. The gestation period of these birds usually lasts between 16 and 18 days.
The female jay lays three to five eggs, after which she sits on them to incubate them for just over two weeks. During this time, the male blue jay feeds and cares for her.
After the egg hatches and the newborn is welcomed into the world, it stays in the nest for two months, after which the parents and the newborn stay with the rest of the family for a while. During this time, male and female blue jays together take on the responsibility of feeding and caring for the baby.
Blue jays generally live for an average of seven years, however, they are known to exist between 17 and 26 years in captivity.