The other night I had a dream about an animal, and I remember waking up and thinking ‘Oooh I have to blog about that!’ But of course, as soon as I got up and went about my day, I completely forgot my dream. The only thing I remembered was that I had an awesome dream about an awesome animal and I needed to remember what it was. Well, today while walking home I did remember, and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. The dream was about blue jays, and involved something about blue jays being fake, and that they were in fact a cross between two other species of birds. In the dream I guess I thought this was pretty cool so I wanted to blog about it, but of course it’s not true at all. Blue jays are very real birds (I think in my dream they weren’t only crossbreeds but also mechanical – don’t ask me how that makes sense), and in honour of my stupid dream I’m going to share the truth about them.

Blue jays are birds in the family Corvidae (the same family as crows and ravens) that live in North America. Their name stems from the fact that they have blue feathers (who would’ve guessed) and are really loud. They like to live in woods with some clearings, and are often seen in cities and parks.

A blue jay showing off its beautiful plumage. Both males and females are brightly coloured, and the jays retain this colour year round. Image By Rob Hanson from Welland, Ontario, Canada – Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata, CC BY 2.0

Blue jays are well known for their aggression and territoriality. They get really peeved when other birds enter their space. To protect their food in winter, blue jays stash tons of food around their home range, far more than they could ever eat. I guess the idea here is if you take all the food you can find and hide it, other birds wont come into your territory looking for food. Another way blue jays try and keep birds away is by imitating the calls of predatory hawks. This scares other birds away, and also might help blue jays identify if hawks are in the vicinity.

Blue jays mate for life, staying together and helping each other raise their young. After the female lays her eggs, she incubates them while her mate brings her food. Once hatched, both the male and female feed the chicks, until they are fully independent at three months old. Both parents actively defend the nest, chasing away much bigger birds and even people away. So remember: don’t mess with a blue jay in breeding season!

A young blue jay, who isn’t quite as pretty as its parents. Almost, though. Image By Jim Conrad, Public Domain

As members of Corvidae, blue jays are considered to be quite intelligent. Young jays will grab shiny objects like bottle caps and carry them around, which seems like a pretty fun pastime to me. No blue jay has been seen using tools in the wild, but in captivity jays have used strips of newspaper to get food.

Asides from being curious and intelligent, blue jays are pretty, and most definitely real birds, I have no idea what I was thinking during my dream, but apparently I really needed to learn more about blue jays. At least it made for a good story!

Cover Image by Steve McLeod from Pixabay