#1. Blue Jay Habitat and Range Facts
Blue Jays live in wooded urban and suburban areas. These areas include parks, backyards, and forest edge habitat. Blue Jays are often found near their preferred food sources, which are Oak trees (acorns are a major staple of their diet) and bird feeders.
Blue Jays are permanent residents across the eastern and central United States. Parts of the western population may be migratory. Blue Jays are also found in southern Canada.
#2. Blue Jay Scientific Name and Subspecies
The scientific name for a Blue Jay is: Cyanocitta cristata. Cyanocitta is the genus name and derives from the Greek words: 'kyaneos' (meaning blue) and 'kitta'/'kissa' (meaning chattering jay). Cristata is the specific name and derives from the Latin word for tufted. So together the scientific name roughly equates to: a “blue chattering tufted jay.”
There are four subspecies of Blue Jay:
- Northern Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata bromia): Largest of all Blue Jay subspecies. Found from Southern Canada to Northern United States.
- Coastal Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata cristata): Medium sized, most vivid colors. Found from North Carolina down the Atlantic Coast and east into Texas.
- Western Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra): Medium sized. Found from Wyoming and Nebraska to Western Kansas, Oklahoma and Northern Texas
- Florida Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata semplei): Smallest of all Blue Jay subspecies. Only found in Southern Florida
Blue Jays are a member of the corvid family – members of this family are regarded as some of the most intelligent and curious species of animals in the world.
#3. Facts about Blue Jay Identification
Differences between a Blue Jay and a Bluebird: A Blue Jay is larger, and has white and black barring on its wings. Blue Jays feature a gray-white chest, compared to the a Bluebird which has a rusty orange colored chest.
Unlike most species of bird, there isn’t a noticeable difference in appearance between male and female Blue Jays.
#4. Blue Jay Diet Facts
A Blue Jays diet primarily consists of nuts, seeds, and insects. Among preferred wild nuts and seeds are Acorns, Beechnuts, and Birch Seeds.
At bird feeders, Blue Jays favor Peanuts and Sunflower Seeds.
#5. Blue Jay Size Facts
Blue Jays measure roughly 10 inches in length, weigh about 3 oz., and have wingspan of approximately 15 inches. In more practical terms, this means that a Blue Jay is larger than a Robin but smaller than a Crow.
Note however that Blue Jay size varies by subspecies.
#6. Blue Jay Lifespan Facts
According to researchers the average lifespan of a Blue Jay is about 7 years in the wild. Though there are occasions of individual wild Blue Jays living much longer.
Blue Jays mate for life and appear to live with their mate throughout the year.
#7. Blue Jay Calls, Songs and Sounds Facts
While technically a “songbird,” the Blue Jay is not a renowned vocalist - their song consists of clicks and whines and is not easily recognized. Their jeer and gurgling calls on the other hand are infamous for being obnoxious.
If a Blue Jay notices a predatory bird nearby (hawk or owl), it will loudly scream and even chase/mob attack the predator. This alerts and ends up benefiting other animals (like small rodents and other birds) who are also targets of predatory birds. Blue Jays are most alert and aggressive while breeding.
Blue Jays will also impersonate the calls of Red Tailed and Red-Shouldered Hawks to make competitors (usually other birds or small rodents) flee areas where sought-after food is present.
#8. Blue Jay Nesting and Egg Color Facts
Blue Jays breeding period usually begins in April and extends through July. Nest placement tends to be moderately high in either a deciduous or conifer tree. Blue Jay eggs are light blue/brown with brownish speckles. The average clutch size is between 4 and 5 eggs. The incubation period runs for 16 to 18 days and is followed by nestling period of 17-21 days.
#9. Blue Jay Behavior Facts
Blue Jays communicate their mood with the crest of feathers at the top of their head. When excited or agitated the crest will raise. When relaxed, with family, and tending to nestlings the crest will lay flat against the head.
Blue Jay are considered slow fliers when compared to other bird species.
They are perhaps best known for their noisy, bold, and aggressive tendencies while feeding.
#10. Facts about Attracting Blue Jay
- Attract Blue Jays by putting out peanut and sunflower seed in a platform style bird feeder
- Plant Oak, Beech, and Birch trees to provide Blue Jays with their favorite wild nuts and seeds
- Keep your bird bath full of fresh water
Bonus: Blue Jay Meaning and Symbolism
Blue Jays are said to represent the following qualities:
Some say that seeing or hearing a Blue Jay may be a sign that you should adopt or ponder one or more of these qualities.