Blue Jay’s Diary
March 4th, 2015
My name is Bluey and I am a Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). I am generally a happy bird, but this past winter was dark and cold, just horrible! I certainly prefer the beautiful spring weather that the Dutchess County has been enjoying these past few days.
I have a perky crest, which my friends from other species make fun of, but I know that in the end, they are just jealous. I’ve always been proud of the colors of my plumage: black, various shades of gray, white, and a very vibrant shades of blue, which often vary their intensity depending on the season. My color pattern is also admirable; I have very noticeable white wing bars in my wings, and towards the ends, I have alternating blue and black lines. I have a blue crown, white supercilium, black eye-line, white auriculars, and a white malar that can sometimes be perceived as grey. I’ve always convinced myself that I am the perfect size; I am smaller than a crow and larger than a robin, which is why I always say I am the perfect size to be flying around the world! (Here is a picture of me!)
My favorite place to live is the edge of the forest. Here in Dutchess County there are several forests, but where I live is right next to Vassar property. I also have Blue Jay friends that live nearby, in the town of Poughkeepsie and in the City of Poughkeepsie, too! Blue Jays are often found in cities or towns, on the edges of forests or woodlots, and they can even be found in parks. I enjoy flying quietly through open areas. We are widespread throughout eastern North America, as you can see on the map below.
My all-time favorite food is acorns. I also like to eat peanuts in the shell, as well as other types of nuts and seeds. I wish I could eat acorns and only acorns all day long, but if I start eating acorns alone, I lose body mass. Therefore, I need to eat other nuts rich in protein, too.
Whenever I find an acorn or any other food item, I stuff it in my throat poach and take it with me so that I can eat it somewhere else. To open an acorn, seed, or nut, I just hold it between my feet, peck it open, and then enjoy it. Birdfeeders are a great way for getting food in addition to natural sources, also. In order to know if a seed, nut, or acorn is viable or empty, I like to shake it shake it shake it.
This is a video of how I forage.
PS: I am going to tell you a secret, dear diary. I really really like to cache; I bury seeds and acorns all the time! It is just a habit I have, but I enjoy it so very much!
March 12th, 2015
I have found a mate! I found her earlier in the spring, and I have started building our nest. I mainly gather materials for the nest while she builds them into the nest itself. Getting the necessary fresh, strong twigs off of live trees for the outer shell of our nest is hard work! I also am always on the lookout for mosses and dried leaves and grass – these are easier to gather. We may or may not come back to this nest next year, depending on its condition.
March 22nd, 2015
Some birds can be so territorial! I don’t really care that much about any specific area. That doesn’t mean I won’t be aggressive if another bird does something that displeases me, however! We, Blue Jays, get harassed a lot by other birds – they seem to think that we are nest predators, which I will admit is sometimes the case. A lot of birds and even other animals like squirrels tend to hide their food when we they hear our calls – but what can I say, we’re hungry too! I believe humans should research and conduct more experiments about our relationship with other birds! Ronald L. Mumme and Kasey M. Schaef (2012) started researching how Hooded Warblers notice Blue Jays due to our vocalizations whenever we approach their nests and they soon come back to defend their offspring. But humans have no idea which types of nests we predate or the way in which we do it. A way to conduct this experiment would be to situate nests of different types of birds without their respective adult birds in sight and have Blue Jays recognize the options of nests they have. Furthermore, humans should measure the approaching distance of the Blue Jays with each nest and record the behavior they have when predating each kind of nest. The results will surprise them, that’s for sure!
April 6th, 2015
My mate and I will most likely stay together until one of us dies. It took a lot of feeding, nudging, and getting twigs, but I eventually convinced her that I was the right Blue Jay for her! I know it is time for us to reproduce when she sidles up to me and begins a display that involves making certain calls that sound something like “kueu, kueukueukueu”. With her head tucked in and her back horizontal, her tail begins quivering. I then mount her, and we copulate. Later in April or May, she will lay anywhere from 2 to 7 eggs and we will eagerly await the hatching of our offspring.
Look at this lovely picture of our family in it!
October 27th, 2015
We are a close unit, and during the spring and summer we don’t usually flock with other Blue Jays. Now that winter is coming, however, that may change. During the winter, we will often rest and nest near other mated pairs of Blue Jays. We will find the same places to eat and only interact with the other birds in our group, rarely sharing food or land with other such groups of Blue Jays.
December 14th, 2015
How I look forward to the spring! Some of my favorite activities, like bathing, anting, and sun-bathing, are just so much easier and more enjoyable when the sun is out and it is nice and warm. When it’s nice out, I enjoy sunbathing for up to 45 minutes at a time.