Blue Jays

No, not the rounders team from Toronto, but the real McCoy corvids that inhabit Canada East of the Rockies and the Eastern United States. These strikingly colourful, talkative birds have certainly intrigued and entertained me this summer and even helped me to learn a thing or two in the process. They have quite a repertoire of vocal calls and sounds which they’ll shout out whilst perched amongst the branches of a tree, but seldom whilst on the wing. Watching them eat is as if they are just being super greedy, but it turns out they have a ‘throat pouch’ which they stuff with food whilst it’s available and they then fly off somewhere and cache it away until they’re hungry. Clearly very intelligent, they mate for life and have a strong social and familial structure that also keeps the young with parents for up to two months after fledging. Another surprise lesson provided by these jays was that adult birds moult, which I’d never heard before, and with blue jays it can be particularly alarming (see below), often loosing all the feathers on their head simultaneously for up to a week before the new ones grow back. You can see more of these spectacular birds in the Corvids Gallery.

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