Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oatka Creek Park • January 1

Blue Jay. The snow continues to lay thick and heavy on the ground sending the birds elsewhere in search of food. The parking lot is actually the best place for finding birds in Oatka at the moment as there is a large bird feeding station in the backyard of the adjacent house. The Blue Jays eat their share of sunflower seeds and keep a diligent eye on everything in the area, raising frequent alarms.

Blue Jay. According to Cornell's Birds of North America, maybe no more than 20% of all Blue Jays migrate. Certainly, they can be found all year round in Oatka with only small changes in number with the seasons, though the winter birds may not be the same ones as the summer birds. On the other hand, I have seen large flocks of Blue Jays migrating along the shoreline of Lake Ontario on early spring mornings and have read other local reports of significant spring Blue Jay migration events. So, is the bird in the picture a year round resident, or just overwintering? There is really no easy way to tell. It seems that despite being such a common bird, we know far less about Blue Jays than one might presume. Actually, this is true of nearly all bird species. This is why birding can provide 365 days of surprises in any given year!