Blue Jay Migration!

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I’ve never seen anything like it! An actual blue jay migration!*

It all started Saturday May 11 at 10:45 a.m. Just a trickle at first, bright and bold Blue jays coursing over Silver Eel Cove. Then a steady stream of at least 40 noisy migrants flooded into the woods. Feathered crests bobbing on branches, their vocal cacophony swelled.

Community observations arrived shortly thereafter: Jackie Williamson up east had a dozen at her feeder by noon, and I saw another 2 dozen at 3 p.m., while bicycling to the Village Market.

Always grateful for remarks From the Field: Pierce Rafferty reported 16 Blue jays at his feeder May 14 at 6 a.m., and Marlin Bloethe captured and generously shared pictures of the initial landing.

* “A small proportion (Cornell estimates 20%) of the US blue jay population migrates south for the winter, whereas the majority of blue jays are year-round residents,” said entomologist Adam Mitchell, Ph.D.

“My guess is that storms moving northeast in early May, followed by a cold front, may have caused the jays migrating along the coastline to stopover on Fishers Island. This may be a boon for the Island in the future, as many species of bird will recall high-quality stopover sites when they migrate again. So we may want to be on the lookout for the jays next time for the fall migration.”

From the Field, Field Note, Justine Kibbe, May 15, 2019