Monday, February 23, 2015

Blue Jays

I think a Blue Jay may have been the first bird to visit my bird feeder when I moved to this property 30 years ago.  It was certainly the most commonly encountered species during that first summer.  I could not step out of the house or walk anywhere on the property without seeing or hearing Blue Jays.  It’s not hard to understand why I chose to name my property Blue Jay Barrens.

Since that first day, the number of Blue Jays at Blue Jay Barrens has grown.  It’s now rare to encounter a lone bird.  If a Blue Jay scolds me as I wander around the property, there are always several more ready to back him up.

The perch on the feeder is not nearly wide enough to accommodate the daily throng of Blue Jays that come in to feed.  Many of these are from this summer’s crop of youngsters.  A swarm of young birds join the flock each summer, but I have yet to find a Blue Jay nest.

Tree roots exposed by the digging actions of deer and turkey act as perches on which the Blue Jays can open their sunflower seeds.  After eating their fill, the birds usually take a few seeds off to cache for later.  I’ll find many of these caches in early summer when clumps of sunflower seedlings sprout from all sorts of unlikely places.

Counting the total number of Blue Jays visiting the feeder is just about an impossible task.  Those on the ground are constantly leaving to perch in the trees while others come in to take their place.

There are a couple of doves in the tree, but the majority of perching birds are Blue Jays.  This photo shows about a third of the tree area and the rest of the tree is just as crowded.  Add to that the Blue Jays in two other nearby trees, those spread over a considerable ground area, those perched out of view on the house gutter and those in the trees lining the field behind that house.  Now put them all in constant motion and you get an idea of how frustrating an attempt at counting can be.

I’ve added three Blue Jay videos to my YouTube channel.  Click on the links to view.

Video 1 – A short clip showing a very active concentration of feeding Blue Jays.  There is some camera shaking from my trying to untangle my sweatshirt sleeve caught in the gear that raises the camera on the tripod.  To view click HERE.

Video 2 – A two minute clip highlighting the comings and goings from a concentrated Blue Jay group.  I particularly like the Blue Jay that refuses to share the water.  To view click HERE.

Video 3 – A two minute clip showing the feeder, water and surrounding ground area.  A great coming and going of birds, with Blue Jays playing a major role.  To view click HERE.


  1. That's remarkable! We hear them regularly here, but never have I seen such numbers. Now I do understand your name. And I must learn to take videos!

  2. Hi, Furry Gnome. So far, all I've learned about taking videos is the location of the button that begins and ends the recording.