Have you ever heard a loud, piercing scream in the middle of a quiet forest? If so, chances are it was coming from a Blue Jay.
These birds are known for their loud and distinctive calls that can echo through the trees. But why do they make such a racket?
Why do blue jays scream?
Blue jays scream for different reasons which include calling other blue jays, warning the nearby birds about predators, or scaring off intruders from their territory.
In this article, we’ll explore the seven main reasons why Blue Jays call out so loudly. From letting other birds know where they’re at, to scare off predators, these vocalizations serve many purposes.
So if you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures and what makes them tick, keep reading!
What Kind of Calls Can Blue Jay Produce?
You may know already that blue jays are vocal birds which means they can communicate with their flock mates by making different sounds. Blue jays can produce a variety of calls and songs depending on their purpose.
The most common sound that blue jays make is a loud, shrill “jeh-ah” call which they use to alert other birds to take notice of them or warn them of predators.
They also have an alarm call that’s shorter and more urgent, as well as a murmuring sound when they’re content.
What’s even more fascinating? According to a book titled “The Singing Life” written by Donald Karoodsma, a blue jay sound can be divided into five different groups. These groups are:
- Normal calls
- Alarm calls
- Contact and territorial calls
- Flight display calls
- Aggressive vocalizations
Each one of these sounds is used for a specific purpose and has its unique context in which it’s meant to be heard or used. Read on to learn more about why blue jays scream and which of these sounds they use for each situation!
When Do Blue Jays Scream?
Blue jays usually start calling out during the early morning hours of dawn and continue until late at night. But why exactly do these birds call out so often? Let’s explore the seven different reasons why blue jays make so much noise.
Reason 1: Finding Mates Mates
The first and the most common reason behind a blue jay screaming is when they are finding mates.
Blue jays are monogamous birds which means they mate for life therefore, choosing a partner carefully is very important for these fascinating birds.
In springtime, these birds perform a ritual in which they fly and scream and call noisily to attract female blue jays.
The interesting blue jay will start flying with the male which is called the “courtship flock” and will also produce raucous calls.
During this period they’re extremely noisy and if you live near the woods you might have witnessed this spectacle during the springtime.
Reason 2: Establishing Territories
Blue jays are very territorial birds, which means they defend their territory fiercely and protect it from intruders.
When a Blue Jay screams, it’s trying to tell other birds that “this is my land” and if any bird comes near the boundaries it will be attacked.
Blue jays belong to the corvid family and they are very protective of their nests and young birds.
Therefore, they establish territories in places where they live. This way they can better protect their babies and eggs from predators.
The other birds when hearing this screaming noise they learn that this territory has been occupied.
Reason 3: Alarming Other Birds
Blue jays are also known for making loud noises to alert other birds about the presence of a predator.
When they sense danger, these birds will call out loudly and make it difficult for predators such as hawks or owls to get close to them or their nests.
Especially during the summer seasons when the females are nesting they are on high alert and will often inform other jays about the presence of predators nearby.
Jays tend to start circling it they feel something’s walking nearby their best.
To study their family-oriented behavior I played hawk calls near a blue jay nest. As soon as the bird heard the voice it started screaming loud in its “Jay” tone.
Reason 4: To Scare off The Threat
Another common reason behind a blue jay screaming is when they are trying to scare off the threat. When a blue jay senses danger it will try and make itself look bigger by ruffling its feathers and making high-intensity vocalizations.
This is done to intimidate predators or other birds that come too close. Hawk is one of many hunters that prey on blue jays.
In addition to this, some other wild animals and birds are dangerous for jays as well. These animals include hawks, squirrels, cats, crows, ravens, deer, raccoons, owls, and eagles.
Even though blue jays are small birds they still do whatever they can to fight or at least scare off the predator.
If they can’t scare the predator along they will start forming a mob against it and mobbing behavior is quite common in blue jays and scrub jays.
Reason 5: To Show Excitement
Sometimes blue jays also scream out of excitement or joy. When they find food, have a successful hunt, or if they just want to show off their beautiful feathers they will make high vocalizations in the form of screaming and chirping.
These birds are very social animals, so it’s not uncommon for them to show off and draw attention. Blue jays are very active in the morning hours and can be often seen catching insects, playing with other birds, or just generally vocalizing about their day.
Reason 6: To Communicate With Other Jays
Blue jays are renowned for their robust vocalizations which they use to communicate various messages, including warnings, mating calls, and requests for food or a mate.
The high calls that blue jays make help them travel long distances and spread their messages faster than other birds. They also have a variety of “dialects” which vary from region to region so they can easily identify one another when they meet.
Blue jays also use body language to communicate with one another. They can flare their crest feathers when they are alarmed, or puff out their chest when they feel threatened.
Reason 7: Notify The Flock That Food Is Available
Another reason why blue jays call out loud is that they want to notify the flock that there is food available.
When a blue jay finds food it will make high vocalizations and let other jays know about the food nearby.
This is a great way for them to get more food and also helps them build relationships with other birds in their flock.
This article was all about why blue jays scream and the various reasons behind it.
Blue jays are intelligent birds that will often use screaming as a way to protect themselves, scare off predators, show excitement, or communicate with other birds.
These birds are very social animals and vocalizations are one of the many ways they express their feelings to each other.
So next time you hear a loud “Jay” sound coming from your backyard don’t be alarmed – it’s just a blue jay letting everyone know what is going on!