I have always liked the color blue, although if one of my best friends knew -like he will know now- that it is one of my favorites, right along with red; he would tease me -like he probably will after reading this- for having a secret predilection for Chelsea FC colors while being a Manchester United supporter.
This is somewhat important in the context of why I have felt attracted to Blue Jays, and think that they are amazing little creatures. Observing them day by day, I have kind of fallen in love with them. Right away I saw the territorial behavior, chasing out other birds from the feeder in the backyard. Which was very shocking to me, because they are really beautiful birds, and they don’t seem mean in pictures.
Here I have to be honest and explain this new fascination, as I have been a city boy all my life. I’m not used to seeing so many different birds, and hearing so many different sounds. While living in cities like Havana and Santo Domingo, birds were the last thing you would think about, and their singing was drowned out with the noise of motorcycles, cars and trucks.
Anyway, I started reading about Blue Jays in a book, and did some extra research online. It turns out that the name “Jay” comes from the sounds they make sometimes, like an alarm “jay, jay, jay”. Also, they are cousins or at least part of, the crow family. Which makes a lot of sense when you get to see their dominant attitude.
During my morning walks with my dog, I always hear these screams or sounds pretty much like eagles or hawks. But every time I look up, I don’t see either of them. It was after my research that I learned that these little blue tricksters make these sounds, sometimes to alert other family members and smaller birds and sometimes to scare off other hawks or eagles.
Blue Jays also act like a gang sometimes. Like a mob, they bully hawks and owls, trying to chase them away from their nests. Often, this “causes such a ruckus that other songbirds heed the warning about the raptors’ presence”, says George Harrison, a contributing Editor of the book “Best of Birds & Blooms”.
These little fellows are very active in the mornings, especially near mid day. You can see them fly from one tree to the other. Sometimes carrying shiny objects, pieces of wood or branches. And when you see one, there most be another near by. They are rarely alone.
In my research I also discovered that the sport team from Toronto, the Blue Jays, have that name and logo not entirely because of the birds. But because the main owners, Labatt Blue, most famous brewery in Canada, were colloquially called the “Jays” and their brand color was blue.
Yet going further, I did find out that in 1977, the established new team held a “name the team contest” in which at least 30,000 people submitted their recommendations. The panel of judges selected the from 10 final entries and decided that: “The blue jay is a North American bird, bright blue in color, with white undercovering and a black neck ring. It is strong, aggressive and inquisitive. It dares to take on all comers, yet it is down-to-earth, gutsy and good-looking.” Does the team represent the same? I don’t know, but I sure do agree with that description.