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Blue Jay bird picture

Blue Jay bird pictureBlue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) - 11.60 inches

This splendid fellow is the rascal of the bird community, the bully and tease of all creatures smaller than himself, and, so far as actions are concerned, "the clown of the circus." So familiar a character as the Blue Jay needs no description, yet his markings are unique and deserve "special mention."

His blue is of the ultramarine order diluted with white; that color distinguishes his upper parts; crest conspicuous and a deeper blue; a black band crosses the breast and continues upward on the sides of the neck joining on the back of the head; under parts subdued, gray-white, whiter on the throat above the black band ; forehead black; wings and tail beautifully barred with black and white, the intermediate light ultramarine blue grading to a cold steely tone ; tail feathers broadly tipped with white-all except the middle pair. Female similarly marked. Nest, of rootlets and twigs compactly interwoven, the finer ones serving as a lining ; the latter is never composed of soft material. Egg, pale olive brown, or pale olive green, plentifully sprinkled with cinnamon brown.

The Blue Jay is also a robber. He not infrequently attacks other birds engaged in nest-building, drives them off, and finishes the job to his own liking.

The advent of a horde of Blue Jays, about the middle of July, in the vicinity of my studio in Campton, means a general dispersion of all the song birds for the time being. There is at once a rumpus in the old orchard, and a continual flash of blue wings in the sunlight; many little brown wings, too, take flight to return no more. A squalling, cat-like J-aa-y J-aa-y fills the air, and occasionally a clear, bell-like, three. syllabled note catches the ear, which is very musical, and sounds like this: Ge-rul-lup Ge-rul-lup

Again, a perfectly clear whistled but metallic-toned octave strikes the ear, thus: On the whole, in spite of the confusion, and the harsh, ringing jay, jay tones, which remind us of the bagpipe whistle of the children's toy balloon, there is a decidedly musical element in the Blue Jay's voice. He gives us a perfect octave, and, perfect or imperfect, that is a great deal more than the Bluebird can do.

He is at once a ventriloquist and a mimic, for he will readily copy any tone he hears which tickles his fancy, whether it be a squeaking cart wheel or the note of a thrush ; but he attempts nothing which we could call a song.