Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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  Blue Jay
 
 

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Corvida (Superfamily Corvoidea)
            Family Corvidae - Jays and Crows
  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Corvida (Corvoidea) includes a group of older endemics originating in Australia and New Guinea.
Corvids are intelligent, social birds. They are larger passerines found in woodlands and open areas. Adults are noisy and aggressive with distinctive calls.
Crested Jays (Cyanocitta). Steller's and Blue Jays are both regionally common, living in suburbs and city parks.
     
     
  Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata
 
     Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common, breeds / Common
            PRIMARY FOREST, OPEN WOODS, EDGES, PARKS, URBAN AREAS
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   Blue Jays are medium-sized birds, predominantly blue dorsally with white wing markings and a blue crest. They have a pale face and throat and a dark necklace between the throat and breast. There are white tail spots and wing patches seen in flight. They are noisy birds and alert you to their presence.
Blue Jay
     
Blue Jay. Clemson
   
  RANGE: Blue Jays breed from Newfoundland south and west along the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes, extending north into the central Canadian prairies and south through our Great Plains to southern Texas and east along the Gulf through Florida and north up the Atlantic coast. They winter in the US.
  BREEDING: Monogamous, one brood north, 2-3 south. Both sexes help build a cup-shaped nest on a horizontal branch or in a crotch. It is bulky but compact, containing twigs, bark, moss, lichen, paper, string, grass - and occasionally cemented with mud. Females lay 4-5 (3-7) eggs which she incubates (with some help) for 15-18 days. The male feeds the incubating female. Young are altricial and leave the nest after 17-21 days. Both parents care for the young but the male rarely broods.
   Blue Jays are defensive of their nest. They are secretive in its vicinity. If they find it disturbed they will often abandon it and renest.
  DIET: They are omnivorous - they feed on insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates, carrion, bird eggs and nestlings, but mostly acorns, fruit, nuts and seeds in winter. They may cache food.
   In the fall, jays travel in small flocks and family groups.
  VOICE: Their voice is varied, often a harsh, descending "jaaaay." They have clear whistled notes (their "pump handle" call), and many other notes. They may imitate Red-shouldered Hawks, especially if one is in the vicinity.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook (breeds). Kiawah - common year round (breeds). Edisto - resident
      Coastal - common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident. Cape Romain - common year-round, breeds.
         Huntington Beach
- common, year-round.
      Caw Caw - common year-round, breeds. ACE - accidental year-round, breeds.
   Kiawah Island banding - Capn' Sam's spit - 3 Sep-Oct 2010; (1 recapture) Apr 2011; 1 Sep 2011. Cougar Island - 1 Nov 2009.
   CBC: ACE 78, 98, 70, 58, 60, 75, 94, 71; Charleston 50, 105, 16, 34, 23, 141, 38, 121;
            St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 14, 67; HIlton Head 218, 433, 231, 424, 165, 118, 128, 219; Sun City/Okatie 63, 121, 70, 100, 21, 124, 65, 82;
            McClellanville 24, 20, 19, 26, nc, 60, 31, 52; Winyah Bay x, x, 34, 52, 44, 45, 26, 35; Litchfield/Pawley's 127, 249, 102, 91, 22, 174, 108, 270.
   SCBBA: Breeds throughout the state.
   P&G: Common resident, more during migration. Abundant on coast in the fall. Maximum: 5,000, Sullivan's Island, 6 October 1983 - flocks migrating along ocean. Egg dates: 21 March - 29 June.
   Avendex: 2 reprots (maximum, above)
   Potter; Very common permanent resident with winter increases caused by northern migrants. The prefer fairly open pine-oak but are at home in any woodland. They are secretive near they nest but otherwise, they are loud and will pursue predators (hawks, roosting owls, snakes, etc.) giving alarm calls recognized by many species "mobbing".
  ●  Blue Jays are common on Seabrook and can be seen en route along the boardwalks or heard from the beach but this is not their major habitat. They have nested in a loblolly pine behind our villa along Capn' Sam's and are common in the estuarine edges and other open areas on the island. Listen for their varied calls and imitations.
       
    Banner - Blue Jay. Clemson.
       
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