Saturday, March 19, 2011

North American Blue Jay Habitats: Blue Body, Cup Nest, Marked Pale Egg


Summary: North American blue jay habitats year-round in southern Canada and the United States east of the Rockies hold blue bodies, cup nests and marked pale eggs.


blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) in Johnston County, central North Carolina; Feb. 16, 2006: Ken Thomas, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

North American blue jay habitats allay cultivator anxieties through Corvidae family predatory wildlife associations with pests and naturalist apprehensions through distribution ranges seasonally in Canada and year-round there and the United States.
Blue jays bear their common name from colors bestowed with the French loan word jai (gay, merry) and the scientific name Cyanocitta cristata (crested, dark-blue chatterer). Ornithologists consider bromia (boisterous), cyanotephra (dark-blue ashes) and semplei subspecies since Carl Linnaeus's (May 23, 1707-Jan. 10, 1787) nominate Cyanocitta cristata cristata subspecies classification in 1758. Large-sized northern bromia, mid-sized coastal cristata, mid-sized inland cyanotephra and small-sized Florida semplei subspecies respectively designate North America's dull, vivid, strikingly color-contrasted and pale blue jays.
Seven-year lifespans expect coniferous, deciduous or mixed forests, parklands or woodlands, forest edges, tree-edged fields, meadows or pastures, suburban or urban woods or tree-lined city streets.

March through July facilitate brooding one two- to seven-egg clutch, followed by another if the first fails in the north, or two to three further south.
Parents-to-be gather bark, feathers, grass, leaves, mosses, stems, sticks and twigs into mud-bound, rootlet-lined, 4- to 4.5-inch- (10.16- to 11.43-centimeter-) high, 2.5-inch- (6.35-centimeter-) deep cup nests. Seven- to 8-inch (17.78- to 20.32-centimeter) outer, 3.5- to 4-inch (8.89- to 10.16-centimeter) inner diameter nests house eggs at 5- to 50-foot (1.52- to 15.24-meter) heights. Mothers-to-be implement 16- to 18-day incubations of American crow-like, 0.91- to 1.26-inch (23- to 32-millimeter) by 0.71- to 0.87-inch (18- to 22-millimeter), oval, semi-glossy, smooth eggs.
American crows, bobwhites, cardinals, falcons, grackles, hawks, mockingbirds, mourning doves, opossums, owls, raccoons, scrub-jays, snakes, squirrels, white-winged doves and woodpeckers jeopardize North American blue jay habitats.

Eggshell- and excrement-eating parents keep brown-, gray-, olive-, purple-blotched, dotted, flecked, speckled, spotted blue-green, buff, cream-buff, gray-white, green-white, olive, pink-buff eggs, helpless hatchlings and nests predator-free.
Nestlings live off parent-foraged, parent-portioned food while they look around with unsealed eyes as five-day-olds and, as seven-plus-day-olds, less cream- or pale yellow-skinned, red-mouthed and thin. They manage feathering as eight- or nine-day-olds and move to nearby roosts as 17- to 21-day-olds and, after another parent contact-filled three weeks, to physical independence. Adults need acorns, beechnuts, beetles, berries, carrion, caterpillars, cicadas, corn, fruits, grains, grasshoppers, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, lizards, mice, peanuts, snails, spiders, sunflower seeds and tree frogs.
North American blue jay habitats through 3,280.84 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level offer winter's coldest temperatures at minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42.77 degrees Celsius).

Alder, beech, cherry, dogwood, elderberry, fir, hazelnut, hemlock, hickory, pitch pine, red spruce, sour-gum, sunflower, viburnum, white oak and white pine promote blue jay life cycles.
Downy, fluffy, pale scruffiness and visible beak-based gapes versus slightly paler colors and smaller sizes respectively qualify as juvenile female and male and mature female hallmarks. Black-beaked, black-collared, black-footed, black-legged, blue-crested, blue-mantled, dark-eyed, gray-under-bodied, long-billed, white-throated adults reveal black bill-to-eye patches, black-barred, long, white-cornered blue tails and white trailing-edged, white-streaked blue wings. Flapping, flat-winged, gliding flight on 13.38- to 16.93-inch (34- to 43-centimeter) wingspans suggest 9.5- to 12-inch (24- to 30-centimeter), 2.25- to 3.5-ounce (65- to 100-gram) adults.
Adults and juveniles turn out typically ethereal queedle-ee-dee chortles, feeding-related soft clucks and harsh jay-jay screams in nests and roosts in North American blue jay habitats.

illustration of eggs and nest of blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) under scientific synonym of Cyanurus cristatus; Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio, Plate XXXVI, between pages 122-123: Public Domain, via Biodiversity Heritage Library

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) in Johnston County, central North Carolina; Feb. 16, 2006: Ken Thomas, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_Jay-27527.jpg
illustration of eggs and nest of blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) under scientific synonym of Cyanurus cristatus; Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio, Plate XXXVI, between pages 122-123: Public Domain, via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/34907803

For further information:
Baicich, Paul J.; and Harrison, Colin J.O. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Second edition. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2005.
Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Volumes 8-11, Birds I-IV, edited by Michael Hutchins, Jerome A. Jackson, Walter J. Bock and Donna Olendorf. Farmington Hills MI: Gale Group, 2002.
Jones, Howard. 1886. Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio. Illustrations by Mrs. N.E. Jones. Vol. I. Circleville OH: s.n. (sine nomine).
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/34907587
Linnaeus, Carl. 1758. "8. Corvus cristatus." Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis, Tomus I, Editio Decima, Reformata: 106. Holmiae [Stockholm, Sweden]: Laurentii Salvii [Laurentius Salvius].
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/727011
Peterson, Alan P., M.D. "Cyanocitta cristata (Linnaeus) 1758." Zoonomen: Zoological Nomenclature Resource > Birds of the World -- Current Valid Scientific Avian Names > Passeriformes > Corvidae > Cyanocitta.
Available @ http://www.zoonomen.net/avtax/pass.html
Oberholser, Harry C. (Church). January 1921. "The Geographic Races of Cyanocitta Cristata: Cyanocitta cristata bromia nom. nov." The Auk, vol. XXXVIII (old series vol. XLVI), no. 1 (January-March): 86-89. Lancaster PA: The American Ornithologists' Union.
Available via SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive) @ https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v038n01/p0083-p0089.pdf
Sutton, George Miksch. April 1935. "A New Blue Jay From the Western Border of the Great Basin: Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra subspecies nova." The Auk, vol. LII (old series vol. LX), no. 2 (April-June): 176-177. Lancaster PA: The American Ornithologists' Union.
Available via SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive) @ https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v052n02/p0176-p0177.pdf
Todd, W.E. (Walter Edmond) Clyde. July 1928. "A New Blue Jay From Southern Florida: Cyanocitta cristata semplei, subsp. nov." The Auk, vol. XLV (old series vol. LIII), no. 3 (July-September): 364-365. Lancaster PA: The American Ornithologists' Union.
Available via SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive) @ https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v045n03/p0364-p0365.pdf


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