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August 13, 2011 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Juvenile Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is a medium-sized, brightly colored bird that’s familiar to people in the Eastern and Central US and Canada. They tend to live around the forest edges but they don’t mind people and can often be found in backyards and at feeders.

Last weekend I received a visit from a juvenile Blue Jay. The youngsters look similar to their parents with the same bright blue coloring. They are slightly smaller and much scruffier. This little guy’s feathers are still downy and fluffy and the gape at the base of his beak is still visible, all indications that this bird is young (click photos for a larger view). He turned around for a nice view of his pretty blue wing and tail feathers.

I usually hear the Blue Jays before I see them. They can be very noisy and have a variety of calls, usually a harsh scream, and they often mimic other birds. This bird made a lot of noise. I don’t know if he was calling his family or just announcing his presence at the feeder.

The crest of feathers on the top of the head is a form of communication or body language. A high crest indicates aggression. When a Blue Jay squawks the crest is almost always held up.

After he finished eating the suet he flew off into the apple tree. The crest went back down and he was looking much more content.


For more bird photos check out my previous Weekend Birding posts.

I link up my bird photos on Saturday Snapshot hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.



Leave a Comment
  1. Cathy / Aug 13 2011 1:14 am

    I miss seeing blue jays all the time, but I certainly enjoy watching the Stellar’s jays up in the mountains. Wonderful photos as usual, Leslie!


    • Leslie / Aug 13 2011 1:46 am

      I don’t see them as much as I used to. The West Nile virus really took a toll on the Corvids. I went a few years not seeing any Jays or Crows.


  2. Paulita / Aug 13 2011 4:28 am

    He just looks downy, like a baby duck in that last photo. A lot of people really hate blue jays. I kind of like that they’re tough birds. I’ve seen them divebomb a stray cat in our neighborhood before.


    • Leslie / Aug 13 2011 4:41 pm

      They can be bullies at the feeder. The one bird that stands up to them is the Red-bellied Woodpecker.


  3. Trish / Aug 13 2011 5:08 am

    These guys are regular visitors in our back yard. They’re beautiful but very noisy! Great pictures. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how the scruffy juveniles are. They look like they just got out of bed 🙂


    • Leslie / Aug 13 2011 4:43 pm

      This is the first young Jay I’ve had at the feeder. I was kind of surprised he looked so disheveled with all those downy feathers. And he was loud!


  4. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Aug 13 2011 5:44 am

    I haven’t seen ANY blue jays here, and we use to have loads of them years ago.

    That is one terrific lens you are using as evidenced by the detail in these wonderful photos.


    • Leslie / Aug 13 2011 4:44 pm

      Until West Nile virus hit we had a lot of them too. They are slowly coming back.

      This is a mid-level zoom lens… 250mm is it’s max. I want a bigger one! 🙂


  5. carol / Aug 13 2011 6:33 am

    Just beautiful.
    Interesting to see him just starting to get his adult colourings and feathers.

    I do love your bird lessons.



  6. BermudaOnion / Aug 13 2011 7:28 am

    It looks like he’s just learning to navigate his way in the world. He’s gorgeous!


  7. Mary / Aug 13 2011 8:56 am

    Great pics as usual, Leslie! Funny but I always thought the crest stayed up! Jays do like to be heard, don’t they 🙂


  8. laurelrainsnow / Aug 13 2011 9:32 am

    That last shot of the bird shows him looking visibly content. I love how you capture the colors and close-up details, and the tidbits you share are wonderful.




  9. dyane / Aug 13 2011 10:57 am

    we have blue jays here in calgary …they always signal before coming to our birdfeeder with a harsh screach and all the other birds scatter til the bluejay feeds and leaves. Nice shot of a juvenile.


  10. dixie / Aug 13 2011 11:34 am

    I like his scruffy look. The second photo is great.


  11. Vicki / Aug 13 2011 12:10 pm

    Love the one next to the last!
    Here’s My SS


  12. Sherrie(Just Books) / Aug 13 2011 12:22 pm

    Great snapshots! Very handsome fellow. I call them the bullies of the garden. They come along and chase the other birds away. Have a great day!

    Just Books


  13. Bev@My Reader's Block / Aug 13 2011 3:51 pm

    I love blue jays. Partly because they’re…well, blue. My favorite color. These are gorgeous photos, as usual! You’ve inspired me…I’ve put up some bird pix of my own this week.


  14. Lisa@ButteryBooks / Aug 14 2011 12:42 am

    Your pictures keep getting better and better!


  15. samstillreading / Aug 14 2011 1:41 am

    Oh, he’s just so cute!


  16. Louise / Aug 14 2011 3:42 am

    I’ve always wanted to see blue jays! Thanks for these photos -they’re great.


  17. gautami tripathy / Aug 14 2011 8:16 am

    Enjoyed looking at the photographs!

    Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!


  18. TheBookGirl / Aug 14 2011 9:05 am

    Blue jays are one of the few birds that I can identify, lol. We had them all the time in the backyard when I was growing up — they certainly are a noisy bunch, and they were always quite pushy at the feeder as I recall.

    Beautiful shots as always Leslie 🙂


  19. WordsAndPeace / Aug 15 2011 3:56 pm

    Gorgeous, I love birds, and paint them. Here is my blue jay, painted some years ago, I thnk I’m doing better work now.
    here is the blue jay:

    and my latest posted bird:

    Really weird long link!! sorry, I have no idea why.
    I have a few summer birds recently, but unfortunately have not posted them yet.
    Emma @ words And Peace


    • Leslie / Aug 15 2011 6:40 pm

      WordPress did not like your link and threw it in moderation; it’s ok now. Your bird paintings are lovely. I wish I had some drawing/painting talent but I have to settle for the camera!



  1. Weekend Birding: Juvenile Blue Jay (via Under My Apple Tree) | My Blog
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