The weather is cooling down, the leaves are turning brown, and the scent of pine and acorns is fresh in the air – all telling signs of the autumn season coming.
You decide to take a little walk in the woods to commemorate the wonderful change in seasons, and then you are suddenly confronted with a flock of jays screaming and crying their hearts out.
Blue Jays are known to be particularly active during the fall months to the point where people who do not even stop and ponder on birds and their ways wonder, what is going on?
What has happened that has made them act so crazy these months?
Well, you are in luck because today we are going to be doing exactly that!
Why Are Blue Jays More Noisy In The Autumn Season (Fall)?
If you look at the yearly planner for birds, this specific time period might make sense to you.
In the spring they are busy mating and breeding and summer denotes the nesting period for them which is marked by secrecy thus they are quiet and try to keep as low a profile as possible.
But just like the fall season brings us and our families together, so does it bring blue jays together.
Blue jays, and birds in general, are extremely intelligent and social beings. After their nesting period is complete, it is a season of rejoicing with family, joining the flock, preparing for migration, and so on.
Apart from these general reasons though, blue jays scream the way they do for some other reasons as well, let’s have a look.
Highly Vulnerable Time As Predators Are On the Move
Hawks, one of the biggest threats to many small birds like blue jays, start making their yearly migration southwards starting in the middle of August, just as the fall season is rolling in.
This means that the blue jays are on alert and busy protecting their house and resources.
Blue jays are well-known to have very loud mobbing behavior.
Mobbing is an essential and highly effective mechanism with which birds protect themselves wherein the birds engage in loud alarm calls, and other attacking measures to keep the predators away from them and their families.
Aerial predators like hawks, owls, and falcons make these birds vocalize more aggressively as well as more frequently.
Interestingly though, blue jays are also great imitators and have been observed to imitate hawk calls quite a bit.
The exact motive behind this is not fully known but scientists speculate that it is either the birds warning other birds of the exact threat they have at hand.
Or the blue jays are smarter and are actually trying to scare away other birds from their food supply by imitating the predator’s voice. How mischievous!
Preparing Their Winter Flocks
Blue jays like to spend their winters in Massachusetts, where they travel in varying groups with a number of members going from 14 all the way over to 49.
Not much is known as to how they decide on these groups and who gets to go with who, but families and different birds do flock together during the fall season.
Often right before the winter settles in, and discuss the different technicalities involved in their stay. These factors include potential predators and threats, availability of food for the season, and so on.
The Young Ones Just Learning Their Way Around
Blue jays are extremely intelligent and social creatures and as a result, the young ones tend to stay at home for longer than most songbirds.
Most songbird babies leave their nests within a span of 10 to 12 days but blue jay juveniles stay at home for longer, about 17 to 21 days.
So what you are hearing is probably the young jays noisily asking their parents for food.
They are also very family oriented and thus keep the young ones around for longer, feeding them and teaching them the ways of the world.
Are Blue Jays Similarly Noisy During the Summer Months?
In summer, blue jays surprise many birders who are shocked to see just how silent these usually loud and vocal birds can be.
The summer months denote the nesting period, where they are in a highly vulnerable state and are thus on high alert.
They are quiet and secretive and work hard at keeping a low profile to save themselves from predators.
This is the complete opposite of their fall behavior when they are loud, and aggressive and communicate a plethora of things to their fellow flock members.
Why Do Jays Screech?
Blue jays are renowned imitators and are well-known imitators of red-shouldered hawks and thus screech just as hawks do.
Though we still don’t know the exact reason why they do this, it’s still a fascinating sight to see.
Some scientists presume that this is a way for them to alert other birds that there is a predator and the exact nature of the threat perceived.
Some also say that this could be a clever tactic by the blue jays to scare other birds off of their food supply by imitating the enemy!
So that is why blue jays make so much noise! They have many motives like family gathering, communication about different things, mobbing behavior against certain predators, and so on.
We hope we gave you something new today, and so the next time you are having a headache from the noise, know that these are the things that are at play!
Thank you for reading!
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