October 11, 2014

The ubiquitous Blue jay, stealer of chips, chaser of cats, lone Canadian major league baseball team


Most bird watchers learn to identify the Blue jay as a child, the stuff of early readers “blue is for Blue jay” and the smiling, more recently frowning mascot for the Toronto baseball team, Blue jays are one of those birds “that everyone knows.” However, jays are more complicated than we may give them credit for. Members of the corvid or crow family, jays are intelligent socialites that stash acorns stores for winter and even migrate. If a jay seems to be extra jowly, gobbled with thick neck, they may be transporting “mast” the harvest of seeds and nuts produced in the forest. Acorns are a favorite and jays will carefully stash these precious swallows of fat and oils in trees, shallow holes, or under rocks to fortify them during the winter.  Beginning around the Jewish New Year Blue jays can be seen passing over roads in low flights above the tree tops. The jay’s flight style is an open winged glide, on surprisingly long “fingers” or primary flight feathers. An overall roundish wing, with blockish head, they often appear white and grey, the illusive blue of their back and head, washed out by the sky’s light. 

bio and contact

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works at the EcoTarium in Worcester and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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