Blue Jays are so cheeky!

by Joanne Bilecki
(Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)

I love blue jays! Yup, they are noisy, raucous little bullies, but one of the most intelligent species of birds that I have encountered. My husband and I live on a small acreage just outside if Red Deer, Alberta Canada.

We go through several bags of feed and peanuts during the year, and have adopted our little backyard visitors as if they were our children. I think bluejays are one of our favorites, not only for their beautiful blue feathers, but for their diversified vocals and comical demeanor.

Our "children" have come to know us quite well. They know where the seed buckets are, and have no problem telling us when they want more. Last week, a bluejay came up on the back deck, jumped on top of the seed bucket and tapped on the back door window with his beak to let me know he wanted some sunflower seeds. That is cheeky!

Today, I was doing my dishes, looking out the kitchen window to watch the sunrise. I was privy to a young jay foraging under a tree to find a peanut that he had planted previously. And he found it! Blue jays love peanuts, and have a complex way of "mapping them out". What is more interesting than that is their instinctual memory to remember where they have planted them. I have watched this phenomenon on several occasions, and am always awed by their complex and brilliant behavior.

So, embrace your bluejays! Love them for who they are, and what they can teach us about backyard ornithology.

Thank you for sharing,Joanne. Jays are handsome, brash and fearful teasers. I have seen a Jay whistle at a dog, who was fooled again and again! How fortunate for those who enjoy them year round, that they don't migrate and entertain us throughout the winter.

In April they become quieter. The pairs are thinking of family matters now, and become quite secretive as they raise their 4 or 5 young, often only a few hundred yards from the house without your being aware of their presence. Happy Birding!

Comments for Blue Jays are so cheeky!

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Apr 23, 2011
they do weigh the peanuts
by: Joanne

You are right, Fred. Bluejays do weigh the peanuts and always select the biggest one. To test this theory, my husband decided to play a trick on them, and tied a piece of fishing line around the biggest peanut. He gave it about 15 feet of line and tied it to the base of the table leg. It was really really funny, though maybe a little cruel. Anyhow, a bluejay picked up a peanut, then put it down, took another one, then put it down, then found... you got it! The prize peanut. He grabbed it, and took off, then had it snatched from his beak 15 feet into flight. Was he ever mad! He started squawking like there was no tommorrow, no doubt warning his buddies about this cruel trick. We didn't see a jay for weeks! Needless to say, hubby never did that again, but it certainly did test his theory! Now we give them a handful every couple days and just watch them play. We have counted up to 13 on the platform feeder at one time, and if I ever find that picture, I'll post it, because it really is amazing to see that mass of blue in the dead of winter.Enjoy your birdies!

Apr 13, 2011
Blue Jays
by: Anonymous

Hi Joanne,
I too have become fond of the blue Jays. i have 6 and they frequent my feeders especially the squirrel feeders. They wait to steal the corn and the peanuts out of the squirrel feeders when the squirrels leave . They seem to know every time I put peanuts in the squirrel boxes and sneak into them and take a corn or peanut . I really enjoy their antics and that distinctive blue jay call. They seem to weigh the peanuts in their mouth and select the biggest one. They seem to be so lively and their antics are awesome. Thanks for sharing your story I learned something about them from you.


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