Blue Jays are one of the smartest birds you’ll see visiting your feeder. They are members of the bird family corvid, which includes other jay species such as Steller’s Jays, along with ravens and crows. Scientific research has uncovered fascinating details about the human-like intelligence traits corvids possess.
As for Blue Jays, there’s still much more to learn and discover, as we don't know the full extent of their intelligence. However, research so far suggests the Blue Jay is no “birdbrain.” Here are three things we know about Blue Jays that prove their smarts:
Blue Jays are tricksters
Blue Jays can imitate the sounds in their environments, and one thing they mimic is hawk calls. Researchers believe they do this to warn other jays in their family and flock that danger is near. However, Blue Jays don't shy away from using this ability to their advantage. Some backyard birders have caught jays making this sound to scare off songbirds at the feeder so they can get the feeding station to themselves!
Blue Jays use tools when they need to
So far, no one has documented Blue Jays using tools in the wild. However, in at least one laboratory setting, Blue Jays were seen ripping pieces of the newspaper lining in their cages, using these strips to help them access out-of-reach food pellets. This suggests when they have the right motivation, Blue Jays have an aptitude for tools.
Blue Jays have found a “life-hack” for eating ants
Many songbirds avoid eating ants because they taste, well, awful. That bitter taste comes from the ant’s self-defense strategy: When it detects a threat, a gland releases a noxious formic acid that covers the ant’s body. However, Blue Jays found a workaround. They carefully rub the insect on their feathers, a process that birders refer to as anting, to remove the bitter-tasting substance before eating.
At the bird feeder, the bright colors and bold personalities of Blue Jays make them a delight to watch. The cracked corn and peanut pieces included in Lyric Supreme Mix will draw them in for a landing.