Photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org
And the winner is….the blue jay! It’s the first bird, or animal for that matter, I saw in 2016.
I spotted this colorful and common city bird at my birdfeeder early this morning. No surprises here. It was picking out a morning meal from the fatty suet with its strong bill, as they usually do.
Jays are quick to take advantage of bird feeders as they quickly glide through trees in search of winter food. Blue jays are omnivores, they will feed on just about anything. Their usual winter diet consists of acorns, beechnuts, seeds and berries, along with an occasional small mouse or an unlucky hibernating grasshopper, caterpillar, or small frog.
Blue jays are intelligent and adaptable birds. They can mimic the calls of other birds, especially hawks. Jays will frequently do this as a way to scare birds or small animals from their nest or as an alarm to tell other jays that a hungry hawk is nearby.
Blue jays are one of our most easily recognized birds around New York Harbor. They can be seen anywhere there are oak trees, as acorns are their favorite food. They are bright blue with black and white markings. They grow to about 12 inches long. Blue Jays have a crest or pointy feathers sticking atop their head, which they lower when feeding peacefully with family members.
While many blue jays do migrate, their migration patterns still remain a mystery. It’s most likely that different or irregular numbers of jays migrate in flocks during the daytime along the Atlantic coast travelling no farther south than the United States. Some may be present around NY Harbor throughout the year. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “some individual jays migrate south one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year. No one has worked out why they migrate when they do.”
Blue jays are quite adaptable to living in the stressful environment around NY Harbor. Smart, tough, hardy birds, they have learned to thrive in this urban jungle. Not bad for a critter that just has birdbrain