Blog Archive: Jays

Birdorable Canada Jay

Gray Jay Named National Bird of Canada

November 19th, 2016 in Jays, National Birds 1 comment
Birdorable Gray Jay in Canada

Last year, in a public poll conducted by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Canadian citizens voted for an unofficial national bird to represent their country. The finalists were: the Canada Goose, long associated with the national identiy; the Common Loon, a bird featured on Canadian currency; the Black-capped Chickadee; the Snowy Owl; and the Gray Jay. The Common Loon won the popular vote, but the Gray Jay was selected by Canadian Geographic to be Canada's new national bird.

Some of the birds on the list were already recognized as official provincial birds in Canada: the Black-capped Chickadee of New Brunswick; the Common Loon of Ontario; and the Snowy Owl of Quebec.

Gray Jays are found in all of Canada's provinces and remain on location year-round. These plucky little gregarious birds are known for their intelligence. Other jays officially representing Canada are the official provicial birds of Yukon (Common Raven), Prince Edward Island (Blue Jay) and British Columbia (Steller's Jay).

Officially, Canada has two animal national symbols that are recognized by the federal government: the beaver and the Canadian Horse share the title of National Animal of Canada. It is unclear if the government will recognize the Gray Jay, or any other species, as the National Bird of Canada.

Birdorable Blue Jay

Fun Facts About Blue Jays

April 29th, 2016 in Blue Jays, Fun Facts, Jays 9 comments
Blue Jay

Blue Jays are large, bold songbirds that live across much of North America. They are common throughout their range, which includes the eastern two-thirds of the continent. Here are some facts about this familiar and widespread species.

  • There are at least four subspecies of Blue Jay accepted by most authorities. The Florida Blue Jay weighs an average of just 74 grams, while Northern Blue Jays weigh in at 92 grams or more. Plumage differences between the subspecies are subtle, with some birds showing brighter plumage than others. The other two subspecies are the Coastal Blue Jay and the Interior Blue Jay.
  • Blue Jays are omnivorous. They feed on a wide variety of food items, including large insects, acorns, bird seed, frogs, carrion, eggs from other birds, berries, and more. They love peanuts!
Blue Jay
Blue Jay by Martin Cathrae [CC BY-SA 2.0]
  • Blue Jays are in the Corvid family, a group of birds that includes crows and ravens and is known for intelligence and curiosity.
  • Blue Jays are generally year-round residents throughout most of their range. Birds may move seasonally depending on availability of food. But jays are also known to migrate in huge flocks around the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic coast. The reasons for this great movement is a mystery.
  • Blue Jays are skilled mimics. They are able to impersonate the calls of other birds, including raptors. A Blue Jay may mimic the call of a Red-tailed Hawk or a Red-shouldered Hawk in order to frighten other birds off of feeders so the jay can eat in peace. Calling out as a raptor may also serve to determine if any actual predatory birds are in the area.
  • Blue Jays are known to mob potential predators. A Blue Jay or a group of jays that finds a predator, like a bird of prey or a snake, will call out a warning to other birds. They will also chase or dive-bomb predators to get them to leave the area.
  • Blue Jays can raise or lower their crests. A crest at rest means the bird is relaxed. A raised crest indicates agression or excitement.
  • Adult male and female Blue Jays look alike. They have the same coloration all year.
Blue Jay
Blue Jay gathering nest material by Amy Evenstad for Birdorable
  • Blue Jays mate for life.
  • The longevity record for a Blue Jay living in captivity is over 26 years. The record for wild Blue Jays is over 17 years. This is known via bird banding programs.
  • Blue Jays are particularly susceptible to West Nile virus. The disease can deccimate populations locally, but recent outbreaks have not significantly affected the global Blue Jay population.
  • The Blue Jay is the official bird of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
Birdorable Florida Scrub-Jay

T-Shirt Tuesday: Save the Florida Scrub-Jay

February 10th, 2015 in Jays, T-Shirt Tuesday No comments

This week we'd like to highlight one of our newest designs featuring our home state and a bird that is very close to our heart. The Florida Scrub-Jay is the only endemic bird of the state of Florida and, with only a few thousand breeding pairs left, considered vulnerable to extinction. Show your support for this highly intelligent and beautiful bird. The design shows our cute Birdorable Florida Scrub-Jay in front of a faint outline of the state and the text "Save the Florida Scrub-Jay", shown here on a green unisex American Apparel t-shirt, which is made of 100% fine jersey cotton and made in the USA.

Save the Florida Scrub-Jay Men's T-Shirt
Birdorable Eurasian Jay

Jay Intelligence Measured in Quality of Gifts

February 20th, 2013 in In the News, Jays, Science 2 comments
Jay Intelligence Measured in Quality of Gifts

A recent study involving Eurasian Jays found that the birds, related to Blue Jays and crows, demonstrate an aspect of intelligence previously thought only to exist in humans. Male Eurasian Jays present their mates with gifts as part of their natural pair-bonding behavior. In the study, male jays were given the option to present their mates with a gift of a mealworm larvae or a moth larvae. The male would observe the female bird eating either moth larvae or mealworm larvae, and depending on which the female had been eating, the male would offer her the other. The idea is that a "jay that’s gorged on moths will generally prefer to eat mealworms afterwards, and vice versa, just as a [human] satiated by chocolate will next take a slice of cake." This type of awareness of the feelings of others is called "theory of mind" and it was once believed that only humans had this kind of knowledge. You can read more about the study and see a short video of the experiment here: Gift-Giving Birds May Think Much Like People.

Birdorable Eurasian Jay

Bonanza Bird #16: Eurasian Jay

July 25th, 2012 in Jays, Birdorable Bonanza 2012 4 comments

Today we proudly introduce the Birdorable Eurasian Jay!

Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian Jay, known simply as Jay by English-speakers in its range, is a species of corvid that lives across much of Europe and parts of Asia and northern Africa.

DSC_3334_1
Eurasian Jay DSC_3334_1 by luc.viatour

These colorful relatives of crows and ravens are known for their ability to mimic the calls of other bird species, including predators like Tawny Owls and Eurasian Buzzards. They use this ability to taunt and intimidate potential predators, along with mobbing behavior, to drive them away.

Eurasian Jay

Tomorrow's bird is a colorful number from Down Under. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
Birdorable Blue Jay

Baby Birdorable: Blue Jay

June 8th, 2012 in Jays, Baby Birds, Blue Jays 5 comments

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the Blue Jay. Blue Jays build stick nests in trees and lay about 3 to 6 eggs per clutch. The female takes care of all incubation. During incubation (about 17 days) and the first week or so after the babies are hatched, her mate brings all food to her and to the chicks. Baby Blue Jays fledge about three weeks after hatching.

Baby Blue Jay
Baby Blue Jay by New Jersey Birds
3 Little Blue Jay Chicks
3 Little Blue Jay Chicks by mauricholas/ Maureen Leong-Kee
Blue Jay chicks hanging around
Blue Jay chicks hanging around by mauricholas/ Maureen Leong-Kee
Blue Jay chick is hungry!
Blue Jay chick is hungry! by mauricholas/ Maureen Leong-Kee
Baby Blue Jay
Baby Blue Jay by tquiddle
Blue Jay
Blue Jay by likeaduck
Blue Jay
Blue Jay by likeaduck
Yet another baby.
Yet another baby. by nosha

Pretty cute, right? Be sure to check out our Birdorable Blue Jay t-shirts and gifts!