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Blue Jay

Cyanocitta cristata
The Blue Jay is a relatively large songbird that is actually in the same family as crows and ravens. That family connection should make it no surprise that Blue Jays are pretty smart birds. For example, they have the ability to mimic other birds, are are particularly good at pretending to be hawks. They have also been observed using tool is captivity! Caged birds used strips of paper to gather food pellets that fell outside their enclosure.

Blue Jays have a range that covers most of eastern North America. Some of the Jays are migratory, moving north and south depending on the season. They live in forested areas, and build rather large, bulky nests. Pairs often mate for life, and both help to construct the nest. Females do all the incubating, while the male finds and brings her food. Young Jays are born helpless, but after three weeks they can fly, and will typically tag along with their parents for a few months.

In the past, Blue jays developed a pretty bad reputation. It was believed that they fed frequently on eggs and hatchlings of other birds. While this practice does happen, it is not at all common. Blue Jays have a largely vegetarian diet, supplemented with invertebrates. Their ability to store and retrieve acorns also makes them a valuable seed distributor.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : North America
Size : Body Length up to 12in (30cm), Wingspan up to 17in (43cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Corvidae -- Genus : Cyanocitta -- Species : C. cristata

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