This month’s bird is one of our most familiar and recognizable birds. Most familiar and recognized because it’s one of our loudest and most colorful birds. Its identification is unmistakable by sound and appearance. (Although not very well known as a “mimic”, this week’s bird does indeed have the ability to imitate the sounds of other birds, and I have to confess that it’s fooled me on occasion with almost perfect imitations of the calls of Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks.)
This month’s Bird of the Month is the beautiful Blue Jay.
Even if you’re not a bona-fide birdwatcher, there’s little doubt that you’ve, on occasion, noticed this bird. They’re a spectacular bird with their multiple shades of blue, along with white, black and gray feathers. They even sport a handsome crest!
Yet…while spectacular looking creatures indeed, what you probably noticed initially about this bird was just how raucous they can be. They can be very loud and aggressive and they may even seem a bit “obnoxious” to some. Obnoxious in the sense that folks who spend time feeding birds are quick to notice that when Blue Jays show up at feeders, other birds tend to depart. Blue Jays will bully a feeding station and take over “Gangsta Style”. (The European Starlings bogart feeding stations too, but when Blue Jays show up, even those hated starlings will relent to them.)
Even though Blue Jays can be a noisy bird, you actually don’t hear them very much this time of the year. They’re nesting and feeding young now, and they are generally trying to be as inconspicuous as possible during these times.
I can remember bumping into a man and wife from England a few years ago who were in the States birdwatching. And after spending some time talking with them I learned that one of their “target” birds was our Blue Jay. Birdwatchers from abroad are astounded that we have such a spectacular bird that is so common. Maybe we should be astounded too! Maybe “familiarity shouldn’t breed contempt”, but maybe “familiarity should breed contentment”.