Blue Jay!

This gallery contains 3 photos. On Christmas Eve 2017, I had the fortune of encountering a Blue Jay in Richmond. A common sight in just about every province east of British Columbia (and a particularly iconic bird for Ontario 😉 ), but a rarity here, this feathered celebrity capped off an eventful final two weeks of the year for me: I was able to see three rare birds in Metro Vancouver (Summer Tanager in Vancouver, Mountain Chickadee in Ladner, and this blue-and-white wonder, who was not just an early Christmas gift, but my first encounter with one).

Visiting Blue Jay doing its best impression of a roadrunner (Jan 9, 2018)
f/10, 1/500, 500mm, ISO 2500

Woodward’s Landing Campground has hosted this rarity for a number of weeks now. Conversations with other photographers revealed that this Blue Jay would cache his/her booty in one place, only to have the resident Steller’s Jays raid that same cache a few moments later! How does one intelligent bird outsmart another intelligent bird? Film at eleven …

Blue Jay in a pre-Christmas Day pose (Dec 24, 2017)
f/7.1, 1/500, 500mm, ISO 2500

I was to also learn that the campground caretaker was not aware of the unusual visitor keeping its corvid cousins–the more common Steller’s Jays and the Northwestern Crows–company; instead, it was one sharp-eyed lady who made the initial discovery on December 23. Although it rarely vocalized during our visits (the Steller’s Jays were the talkative ones), with its blue-and-white plumage, it was quite easy to distinguish who was whom. When not caching or eating its peanuts, the Blue Jay would fly to the tops of the trees and survey its domain. More often than not, it would retreat to the trees furthest from the photographers.

How many shades of blue can you wear? At the afternoon feeding (Dec 24, 2017)
f/7.1, 1/500, 500mm, ISO 2500

I always wonder why birds end up thousands of miles out of their typical wintering ranges. Did their internal GPS go awry? Did they sense a very cold winter coming where they usually hang out (Toronto recently experienced the coldest winter they’ve had 57 years — maybe the Blue Jay had the right idea!) Like all jays, Blue Jays are omnivores, but the smaller birds who frequent the area have nothing to worry about this visitor — the campground caretaker has enough bird feeders to feed 50X as many birds as he gets every day (although on our initial encounter, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk flew just a few feet above our heads as it stealthily absconded with a meal that one upset crow was not about to surrender easily). To learn more about the Blue Jay, please visit its Cornell Lab of Ornithology profile.


20 thoughts on “Blue Jay!

  1. Wow it must have flown over the Rockies! I like your Stellars Jays which we do not get here in Ontario. Maybe someday! Hey congratulations by the way I see you won the Cornell Great Backyard bird count photo contest! Yay!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie,

      Rare bird sightings are always a treat! 🙂 Thank you! I am honored to have had my photo chosen as 1st for the Behavior category (and the birds in the backyard are very happy with their new huge sunflower feeder! 🙂 )



    • thank you, Noelle! so nice to see new and unusual feathered friends spending the fall and winter here! Blue Jays are cheeky … this one was giving the photographers a bit of lip yesterday while it was deciding which peanut to go for! 😉


    • thanks, Annette! you are lucky to have so many Blue Jays visit you! I am not surprised that their song is far from pleasing to the ear; they are, after all, corvids! but whatever their shortcomings in the vocal department, they more than make up for it with their lovely plumage! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Your comments are like chocolate for my soul ... I can never get enough of them! Bonus brownie points for witty comments! I love a good turn of phrase. :)

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