blue jay

londonJuly 3, 2005

We garden in Manhattan, on a small balcony seven stories above the ground. Nearly as soon as the berries on our single blueberry bush ripened a blue jay appeared to eat them. I'd never before seen a jay on our balcony and wonder if someone could explain how it knew where to find this bush, with no other berry plants around it? I'm assuming the blue jay lives in Central Park.

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hey... if a hummer could find my stuff up on the 18th floor I can't see any reason why a bluejay can't find your stuff on 7. ;-)

You'd be surprised what creatures will find up in the sky since they can fly up pretty high and have excellent eyesight. Your bird may have inadvertantly stumbled upon your stuff during a random flyby, but once it did, it remembered and will probably keep coming back just like my hummer. You may want to consider netting for next year. I've been fortunate so far that nothing has come after my blueberries but I know that this situation could change at any time!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 12:40PM
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Thanks, Jenny. I had no idea blue jays made random flyby's among apartment buildings--I've never seen this. You're right, though. The jay remembered our blueberries and came back today for more.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 1:18AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

The birds that are born and raised in the city are definitely adapted to everything around them. City birds! ;-) In their normal flight paths from tree to tree they can't help but pass by buildings. I've noticed that blue jays often roost in large groups and sortof claim a territory (usually within the canopy of a tree) and anything trying to encroach gets chased off (I watched a large group chase off a hawk at one of my sisters' houses last year).

I've included an interesting link to some info on blue jays including mention of how they seem to have no problem building nests in our spaces (including on porches, etc) and otherwise interacting with us humans.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue jays

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 8:36AM
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Jenny, this link is great. Blue jays sound well-suited to life in NYC.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 9:05AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

Thanks for the link Jenny, it was a very interesting read.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 3:42PM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

London, "John's Bird Restaurant" (my place) has 7 regular Blue Jays that visit daily with a variety of foods to choose from. My choice is to keep them around. Jenny's suggestion to use netting is called "Bird Block" that you can get at Home Depot; it should do the trick! (I use it on the top of potting mix in some containers to keep squirrells from digging).

Since they will probably rturn, if you don't want them, use the netting and don't feed them other foods. If you want to keep both the Blue Jays ad the blueberries, use the netting and serve the birds dry cat food, bread, and/or raisins. In an experiement, I saw the Blue Jays went for the dry cat food, raisins, and bread - leaving the blueberries for the Gray Catbirds, Rufous Tohees, Mockingbirds, etc.

Jenny, you always have such great info and pics! Thanks so much, although as you know it's impossible to respond to every thread we read and then keep up with all the responses. That would be a full time occupation. LOL. I went all out this spring for the 3 regular Ruby Throated Hummingbirds that have come around for the past 4 years. They are not shy of humans! After planting tons of red Salvia, Canna 'Red King Humbert'(and other Cannas),etc. - plus the nectar feeder I clean every 3 days - not a single humming bird showed up after all my "special efforts". I'm really disappointed.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 5:30PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hi John! You have a regular aviary there! :-D Appreciate the compliments and a ditto back to you (including that interesting thread with I believe Candletree in the MG thread).

Hopefully a hummer will eventually find the smorgasborg that you prepared. I know how you feel about planting all this stuff and then it is ignored. Perhaps once all the baby hummers are older you'll see more around - and especially when they start their fall migration. I know that a number of hummer-monitoring sources are speculating that many hummers may have perished during the Florida hurricanes as they occurred right around the time of the bird migrations. This year, it's almost unanimous that the east coast Ruby Throat numbers have been down significantly from previous years.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 11:16AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Jenny, I never thought about the hurricanes and never thought to search for HB monitoring sources. That might explain it because several other "backyard birders' in the neighbourhood said they were stumped too about the HBs. Thanks for that tip.
PS Personal e-mail exchages with Candletree are an absolute delight. She is truely a well-educated, humourous, yet profound personality. We have much to share.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 7:57PM
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