It’s not easy to get near a Blue Jay. Though they’re common visitors to bird baths and feeders, unlike Robins and Chickadees, they’re reluctant to let humans get too close. Perhaps it’s because they’re fairly slow flyers compared to other birds their size and need more lead time to flee from predators. However, this week we had the unique opportunity to see a young Blue Jay up close. It had flown into the front window and lay on the grass recovering for a few minutes before flying off to the woods. Its plumage was spectacular.
Blue Jays are strikingly beautiful birds to see at any distance, but up close, their feathers are remarkably awesome. Their tail and wing feathers are the bluest blue.
There are four sub-types of Blue Jay in North America, but the ones we see in Nova Scotia are among the brightest in color.
A Blue Jay’s feathers appear blue due to light refraction. This process depends exclusively on the integrity of the feather’s structure. If a feather is crushed, it cannot refract light and consequently will lose its blueness. A dull grey feather is the result.
It wasn’t long before this little creature was on its way. Though we feared it may have broken a wing, it had no problem flying off on its own to the safety of the woods.
For more information on Blue Jays, see last year’s post on Blue Jay Feathers