Feb 26 2012

Have You Seen Any Blue Jays Lately?

Published by at 7:30 am under Migration,Songbirds

When volunteers compared notes after the Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count on 1 January 2012, someone remarked that they hadn’t seen many blue jays this winter.  Everyone at the Pittsburgh CBC Dinner nodded.

This morning I remembered that remark and looked through my bird observations to see how often I’ve recorded blue jays this winter.

Amazingly I’ve seen them only four times since November 1:  on November 6 and 13 and December 4 and 11.  Three of those observations were at the same spot at Moraine State Park and were perhaps the same individual bird.  Meanwhile, I have not seen a blue jay in Pittsburgh for at least four months.

If the blue jays aren’t here, where are they?

Have you seen any blue jays lately?



  • Click here for an eBird map of blue jay abundance 2009-2014 in Pennsylvania.  On an annual basis blue jay abundance peaks in Pennsylvania in September and falls to its lowest point in late February.  Click on the [Change Location] button to choose your own state or province.
  • March 2012:  I mapped readers’ sightings on The Blue Jay Report here.
  • June 2013:  New comments have come in from folks who are seeing far fewer blue jays than they expect.  I asked 1,200 observers in Pennsylvania (via PABIRDS) if they were seeing fewer blue jays.  Everyone said they were seeing plenty of blue jays but one person commented that 17-year cicadas seemed to depress blue jay abundance in advance of the cicada emergence.  If you have fewer blue jays, are you also in a cicada area?
  • September 2014:  Lots of blue jays moving south through Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine when I was there in early September.  Lots of blue jays in the Pittsburgh area.


(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

151 responses so far

151 Responses to “Have You Seen Any Blue Jays Lately?”

  1. Scooteron 08 Feb 2016 at 6:35 pm

    We’re in the foothills (1500 ft) of Mt. Hood, OR & our stellar’s jays have disappeared this past month-what’s up? They were here during the winter & we fed them peanuts/birdseed everyday and have for nearly 20 years. They used to come when we called them and as well hung out near our windows & decks to wait for their treats. There was a mountain bobcat in the back & we only feed in clear areas or on an upstairs deck now to no avail. The weather calmed dramatically after a hard freeze and we’re flabbergasted by this behavior. Any insight/ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks kindly, Scooter ?

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