It is not surprising that gray
jays, being members of the
corvid family, have the ability to mimic raptorial birds, in
particular northern pygmy-owls,
rough-legged hawks, merlins,
broad-winged hawks, and red-tailed hawks. They have even
been known to imitate the calls
of American crows, blue jays,
and pine grosbeaks. Why do this?
Well, most of these species prey
upon the jays and their nests, so
it could serve as a warning call
to other group members, to confuse the predator itself, or just to
announce in a general way that a
threat is present.
As far as anyone knows so
far, gray jays are totally monogamous. In other words, there is
either no cheating or they have
not been caught yet. The fact
is that the two members of any
given pair are seldom apart and
appear to do everything together.
In fact, there were two cases in
which captive birds were released
after leg banding and their mates
gently inspected and tugged at
their new “jewelry.” Although
three cases of “divorce” have
been recorded in this species,
gray jays generally stay with one
another until one member dies.
They will, though, find another
mate in the case of loss.
Here is where the real toughness in gray jays shows. While
as many as eighty percent of the
local migratory bird species have
Grab your binoculars
and head to
We’re just north of Milwaukee
on Lake Michigan, on the
Interurban Recreation Trail,
a designated birding trail.
All on a migratory flyway and
minutes away from multiple
preserves, natural areas,
800-719-4881 s www.visitportwashington.com
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Spot your favorite birds.
Then nestle in our
comfy lodgings for the night.