Last Updated on November 7, 2021 by Guillermina
Wondering about the Lifespan of a Blue Jay? Our Blue Jay guide has all the answers you need and bonus info on how to extend their lifespan!
What bird species is loud, flashy, and has a bit of reputation as a backyard bully? That’s right; you guessed it – the Blue Jay. But, here’s the thing, despite the species’ rough personality, they’re actually a necessary component of nature! How? That’s simple. When Blue Jays gather acorns and beechnuts to feed on, the nuts they drop help the growth and movement of forests!
So, the next time someone tells you about the unsavory habits of Blue Jays, tell them nothing in nature is without purpose. Without Blue Jays, we might not have had the woodlands and wildlife we love today. If you’re looking for info to help the Blue Jay species endure – you’ve come to the right place. This article is all about the Blue Jay life expectancy and how you can help sustain it. Ready? Let’s go!
What’s The Blue Jay Life Cycle?
The Blue Jay life cycle is pretty standard for a bird that’s received a lot of notoriety. The species life pattern is pretty similar to other members of the avian kingdom.
Blue Jays start off as eggs, become nestlings, and mature in fledglings that hop around exploring their environment. The first year of a Blue Jay’s life, however, is critical. They’re prey to a lot of animals like wild cats, opossums, etc. But, once they’re over the 12-month mark – the species are grown enough to have better survival odds.
Now, let’s take a moment to quickly go through different stages of a Blue Jay’s life cycle before we get to pointers on how you can help extend it.
1. Stage One – Oviparity
Birds are an oviparous (egg-laying) species, and Blue Jays are no different. The breeding season for Blue Jays is pretty long and lasts from March to July. It’s during this time that Blue Jays will build nests, mate, and lay eggs.
Once laid, Blue Jay eggs can take anywhere from 17 to 18 days to hatch. A Blue Jay female can lay approximately 2 to 7 eggs in one sitting. Once the eggs have been laid, the female incubates the eggs, while the male will help guard the nest and bring back food for its mate.
2. Stage Two – Hatchlings and Nestlings
Once the eggs hatch and the baby Blue Jay hatchlings appear, both the male and female birds will look after them for approximately two weeks. During this time, the parents are constantly guarding the nest or off searching for food to feed the hatchling.
By the beginning of the second week, the nestlings have fur on their bodies and move around a little. By the end of the third week, the nestling period of Blue Jays is at an end, and the baby birds are ready to leave the nest to explore their surroundings.
3. Stage Three – Adulthood
By the time September rolls around, the Blue Jays are grown enough to leave their parents and start out independently. Juvenile Blue Jays resemble adults, except their coloring has more white and gray instead of blue and black.
However, that soon changes, and once the Blue Jays are ready to fly away on their own, their coloring has the signature blue and black markings.
Blue Jays become adults at the 12-month mark, and that’s also when they achieve sexual maturity. However, not every new Blue Jay survives the harshness of winter. If the species survive to make one year of age, they have a better chance of living to the ripe old age of seven.
How Long Do Blue Jays Live?
Generally, the average lifespan of a Blue Jay in the wild can range from anywhere between 4 to 7 years. The longest living Blue Jay in the wild on record was found in Newfoundland and was approximately a whopping 26 years of age.
Unsurprisingly, the species can survive up to 9 years in captivity. That’s primarily because they’re safe from predators, have a stable food source, and don’t have to face harsh weather conditions.
However, don’t try to capture one to keep as a pet. Blue Jays are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Act. Which means transporting, trapping, or killing the species is illegal in the United States. Other countries, like the United Kingdom, have similar laws protecting avian wildlife.
The only exceptions to the above rules are for (licensed) wildlife rehabilitators or professionals.
How Can You Extend The Lifespan Of A Blue Jay?
Just because you can’t keep Blue Jays as pets doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the species’ survival. The best to help extend the life of a Blue Jay in the wild is to provide it with a food source.
That’s one reason why so many people are turning to set up bird feeders in their backyards. Not only does this help attract birds to make your garden more lively, but it also helps the birds find sustenance. However, setting up a feeder on your lawn can also help attract predators. That’s why it’s a good idea to ensure you include covers to keep the bird hidden from raptorial birds.
You can also invest in cage feeders to help keep your backyard birds safe from animals like opossums or wild cats as they feed.
Bird lovers can set up heated birdbaths for their feathered friends for a steady water supply in winters. You can also add roosting boxes to give birdies a place to stay warm when the weather turns rough.
Blue Jays have a pretty strong survival instinct. But, sometimes, the species can need a helping hand. If you’re looking to help your local Blue Jay population (and other species) survive the tough winter ahead – start prepping your backyard now. Not all Blue Jays travel to warmer regions when the weather turns cold, which is why there’s a good chance your efforts could help the species live out the winter.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our lifespan of a Blue Jay guide and have enough ideas to help your local avian population. Be sure to comment if you have a Blue Jay story to tell; we’d love to hear from you! Till next, happy birdwatching!