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Blue Jays my photos, my words

Blue Jays are, for lack of a better description, are the bad boys of the bird community. They are noisy and bold, they can be aggressive and they tend to travel in groups — kind of like a blue-clad bird street gang.

They are fun to watch but difficult to photograph. They tend to leave quickly when I point my camera their way.

A Blue Jay strikes a regal pose in Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

But I’ve been fortunate to capture a few images of Blue Jays in local parks and forests over the years. Some of the photos show a bit of the Blue Jay’s personality and occasionally regal behavior.

Blue Jay pulling bark on winter morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Note that Blue Jays are year-round residents of Central Ohio, so the images in the gallery include photos from all four seasons. A number of the photos, especially the close-ups, were taken during the winter when I sometimes use a shed in Blendon Woods Metro Park near Columbus, Ohio, as a blind to photograph birds as they wait to visit a nearby feeder.

A close look at a Blue Jay on a snowy morning in Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Some of these photos show a Blue Jay with its crest raised. Others show the crest held down. The crest position can be used by Blue Jays for communicating. When around a mate, family or other jays in a flock, the crest is often held down, indicating a low aggression level. The higher the crest, the higher the aggression level. The crest is almost always up when the bird calls or squawks.

A Blue Jay eats a seed behind plant stems in Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Blue Jays also have a wide variety of vocalizations or calls, and they are known to mimic other birds — most commonly Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks. I often hear the hawk call when a Blue Jay is approaching a crowded feeder in the winter. The call deceives other birds into scattering, providing the jay with open access to the feeder.

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Created By
Pat Hemlepp
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All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.