Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. February, 1897 No. 2
THE BLUE JAY.
URING about three-fourths of the year the American Jay is an extremely tame, noisy and even obstrusive bird in its habits. As the breeding season approaches he suddenly becomes silent, preparing the nest in the most secluded parts of his native forests, and exercising all his cunning to keep it concealed. He is omniverous but is especially fond of eggs and young birds. The Jay may be regarded as eminently injurious though in spring he consumes a number of insects to atone for his sins of stealing fruit and berries in autumn. He is a professional nest robber, and other birds are as watchful of him as is a mother of her babe. He glides through the foliage of the trees so swiftly and noiselessly that his presence is scarcely suspected until he has committed some depredation. The Robin is his most wary foe, and when the Jay is found near his nest will pursue him and drive him from the neighborhood. He is as brave as he is active, however, and dashes boldly in pursuit of his more plainly attired neighbors who venture to intrude upon his domain.
The Jay has a curious antipathy toward the owl, perching on trees above it and keeping up a continual screeching. Some years ago an Ohio gentleman was presented with a magnificent specimen of the horned owl, which he kept for a time in a large tin cage. In favorable weather the cage was set out of doors, when it would soon be surrounded by Jays, much in the manner described of the Toucan, and an incessant screeching followed, to which the owl appeared indifferent. They would venture near enough to steal a portion of his food, the bars of his cage being sufficiently wide apart to admit them. On one occasion, however, he caught the tail of a Jay in his claws and left the tormentor without his proud appendage.
The Jay remains with us throughout the year. He is one of the wildest of our birds, the shyest of man, although seeing him most. He makes no regular migrations at certain seasons, but, unless disturbed, will live out his life close to his favorite haunts. His wings show him to be unfitted for extended flight.
Jays are most easily discovered in the morning about sunrise on the tops of young live oaks. Their notes are varied. Later in the day it is more difficult to find them, as they are more silent, and not so much on the tree tops as among the bushes.
The Jays breed in woods, forests, orchards, preferring old and very shady trees, placing their nests in the center against the body, or at the bifurcation of large limbs. The nest is formed of twigs and roots; the eggs are from four to six.
THE BLUE JAY.
Something glorious, something gay,
Flits and flashes this-a-way!
’Thwart the hemlock’s dusky shade,
Rich in color full displayed,
Swiftly vivid as a flame—
Blue as heaven and white as snow—
Doth this lovely creature go.
What may be his dainty name?
“Only this”—the people say—
“Saucy, chattering, scolding Jay!”
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)
The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to North America. It is resident through most of eastern and central United States and southern Canada, although western populations may be migratory. It breeds in both deciduous and coniferous forests, and is common near and in residential areas. It is predominately blue with a white breast and underparts, and a blue crest. It has a black, U-shaped collar around its neck and a black border behind the crest. Sexes are similar in size and plumage, and plumage does not vary throughout the year. Four subspecies of the Blue Jay are recognized.
The Blue Jay mainly feeds on nuts and seeds such as acorns, soft fruits, arthropods, and occasionally small vertebrates. It typically gleans food from trees, shrubs, and the ground, though it sometimes hawks insects from the air. It builds an open cup nest in the branches of a tree, which both sexes participate in constructing. The clutch can contain two to seven eggs, which are blueish or light brown with brown spots. Young are altricial, and are brooded by the female for 8–12 days after hatching. They may remain with their parents for one to two months before leaving the nest.
The bird’s name derives from its noisy, garrulous nature, and it sometimes also called a “jaybird”.
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) from xeno-canto.org – Call
The Blue Jay measures 22–30 cm (9–12 in) from bill to tail and weighs 70–100 g (2.5–3.5 oz), with a wingspan of 34–43 cm (13–17 in). There is a pronounced crest on the head, a crown of feathers, which may be raised or lowered according to the bird’s mood. When excited or aggressive, the crest may be fully raised. When frightened, the crest bristles outwards, brushlike. When the bird is feeding among other jays or resting, the crest is flattened to the head.
Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue in the crest, back, wings, and tail, and its face is white. The underside is off-white and the neck is collared with black which extends to the sides of the head. The wing primaries and tail are strongly barred with black, sky-blue and white. The bill, legs, and eyes are all black. Males and females are nearly identical.
As with other blue-hued birds, the Blue Jay’s coloration is not derived from pigments but is the result of light interference due to the internal structure of the feathers; if a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears as the structure is destroyed. This is referred to as structural coloration.
Blue Jays have strong black bills used for cracking nuts and acorns, and for eating corn, grains and seeds, although they also eat insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction
The above article is the first article in the monthly serial for February 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
Next Article – The Swallow-tailed Indian Roller (active 2/8)
Previous Article – Vol 1 #1 – The Golden Oriole
Wikipedia – Blue Jay
They even had ads in the Birds Illustrated by Color Photography.