Are Blue Jays as Tough as They Pretend to Be?

October 11, 2011

Life in Winfield

by Sue Casino

I opened my front door the other day to let the dog out and was startled to have a hawk fly out of the garden not 6 feet from me. Thinking perhaps that I had interrupted his meal, I stepped into the garden to see what was left behind. Nothing. I turned to see a blue jay emerging from the euonymus vine and was he upset!

He (or she, you can’t tell male from female in this species) was very verbal with me and flapping his wings, I assumed, to scare me away. I stepped back slowly and not until I was back by the front door did he fly off squawking. Now blue jays are known for their aggressiveness towards other birds, but in this case, the tables were turned. He certainly didn’t resemble the neighborhood bully I’m sure he is at the peanut feeder. I’ve had a dozen blue jays lined up waiting for their turn at the feeder while scaring away other birds trying to get in.

Blue Jays are intelligent birds and they are known as ‘tree planters’. They love acorns (one of their favorites) and bury them for future dining. Rarely, however, do they retrieve all their loot, therefore, oak trees pop up all over come spring. I had read that Blue Jays were very helpful in spreading oak trees after the last glacial period. Blue Jays also love peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet. Beautiful to look at. A tough bully? Apparently only to the small kids on the block.

References: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds Eastern Region

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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