What Do Baby Blue Jays Eat? Hatchling Care Guide

What Do Baby Blue Jays Eat

Nature is beautiful, and it has always been inspiring to look at and be a part of. The peak of nature’s beauty is birds.

Birds come in thousands of species, calls, color patterns, and behavior, making them a critical addition to any ecosystem.

Some of the most beautiful bird species are the Blue Jays, a common bird in the US. To keep this bird’s population high, we need to understand them better. 

So let us take a closer look at nature and learn as much as we can about this small yet majestic bird;

What Do Baby Blue Jays Eat?

Blue Jays are omnivorous, and they will eat almost everything their mother brings to them. They will mostly eat nuts, seeds, and insects in the wild, which the mother will look for and get to them. 

If you have an adopted blue jay, you can feed it anything; you would provide a grown blue jay but keep it in small sizes for the bird to swallow. Make sure the nuts are uncooked and unsalted to keep the bird healthy.

Blue Jay Breeding And Nesting 

Knowledge is power, and as such, you need to have as much knowledge about the Blue Jay as possible to help the species. Nesting is an integral part of their lives since it leads to the birth of a new generation.

Knowing a lot about this milestone will help you to anticipate the changes and support nature better to keep the population high. 

Blue Jays are an interesting bird species, and you will enjoy having them around; let’s jump into the facts;

Blue Jays are ready to mate a year after they hatch, and they have some exciting habits during this time. 

Males will compete for the female’s attention by making calls and bobbing their heads while the female stands on a branch nearby and watches.

Sometimes the female will take flight, and the males will follow her until she chooses one. At this point, the male will feed her from his beak. This is expected behavior in most birds in which the female sits in the nest.

Once the pair are bonded, they will stay together for the rest of their lives, and they can now get into building a nest. 

Nests are often made in deciduous or mixed forests, but they can also settle in populated areas or close to buildings.

The male and female collect the necessary material together, such as twigs and grass. The two birds will share the work with the male focusing on gathering supplies and the female building the nest. 

Depending on the environment, the nest is placed in a shrub or between ten and 50 feet off the ground. 

The nest is almost 8 centimeters thick and has twigs on the outside, lined with mud and feathers inside.

Even before they lay the eggs, Blue Jays become fiercely territorial, and they won’t allow any birds near their nesting site.  The pair can build several nests as practice before they finally settle on the perfect one. 

Once the nest is ready, the female sits in it, preparing to lay her eggs. She will have between 3 and 7 greenish, blue or yellow eggs with brown spots. Once the eggs are laid, the female will incubate them on her own. 

At this time, the male looks for food and feeds it to her in the nest. She will leave the nest a few times to stretch, breathe and have a drink of water before going back to her eggs. When the male is not looking for food, he keeps a lookout for any danger.

How Do Blue Jays Care For Their Young?

After around 17 days of incubation, the eggs will hatch, featherless and blind with closed mouths. 

The mother will brood them for the next 8 to 12 days as the male looks for food for both the female and the nestlings.

Often, the nestlings will hear the males call as he comes toward the nest, and they will raise their heads with open mouths, ready to receive food. 

The birds often attack a predator near the nest, but they sometimes abandon it if the danger is too much.

As the chicks grow larger, the female will leave the nest to help the male gather food. However, the birds will always be within the nest area to protect their young from predators.

One couple can have up to three attempts to get hatchings in one mating season if there is a failure. 

At around 17 days, the nestling would have developed feathers, and they will be almost ready to leave the nest. 

They will go about three weeks after hatching. Some of them may wander off at this age when most people encounter lost baby Blue Jays.

What Should You Do When You Find A Baby Bird?  

Humans and wildlife are constantly crossing each other’s paths, especially birds that can’t be contained. 

During spring, encounters increase, and you are likely to come across a Baby bird fallen out of the nest. 

What should you do when you see such a bird? Most animal species are unpredictable, and you could end up doing more harm than good if you don’t handle the situation correctly. So let us get the details to give you the best way forward;

There are two ways you can find a baby bird; either they will be nestlings or fledglings. Nestlings are the recently hatched birds that are featherless and pink with not motor capabilities whatsoever.

Fledglings are juveniles that still appear young, but they seem grown enough to leave the nest. They could have developed some feathers, but they can’t fly or move around as fast as they should. Both these birds need care, but you will go about it differently.

When you find a nestling, it is crucial to know where it comes from. Look around to see if a nest is nearby since they are often blown out of a nest or fall out with the nest. If you know the nest nearby and it is destroyed, you need to rebuild it.

Take the nest material and place it in a plastic container about the nest’s size. Poke a few holes into it to drain any water and then nail it to the tree you believe the nest was in. 

This will have the chicks safe in a place familiar to the parents to come back and get their young.

If there is no nest in sight, still put it in a plastic container nest and nail it to a nearby tree, then put the baby bird in the nest.  Watch the nest closely to see if the bird’s parents come back to look and care for it.

The birds will not abandon their baby because you touched it, so you should feel free to rescue the bird.

If no parent is coming or you don’t see any signs of a nest, and you think the bird is in danger, you can do more to help.

Put some soft materials in a shoebox, take the bird home, and call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. 

You might want to raise the bird yourself, but this is not entirely a good idea since baby birds look almost alike regardless of the species.

You might not know its nutritional needs, and you could end up feeding it food it can’t eat. This means you need a professional to guide and provide you with a license if you want to raise the bird or become a bird owner in the future.

Fledglings are the most kidnapped kind of bird since most people assume they are abandoned, which is not valid in most cases. 

These are primarily birds that leave the nest trying to fly since they are almost mature enough to.

Most of the time, the parents will be somewhere near the birds, and they will feed them as they learn to fly and forage for food. 

If you see a bird with the parents around, leave it and keep any predators like cats and dogs away from it.

If you see an injury or the bird is bleeding, you can take it and keep it warm in your house. Provide some water and contact a local Zoo or vet for assistance. Don’t try to feed the bird if you are not sure of its dietary requirements.

Conclusion

Baby blue jays will eat almost everything the mother eats. They eat nuts, worms, insects, and any other food the father or mother will bring to them. The birds will stay in the nest for around three weeks before they start foraging for their food.

The fledgling might look abandoned at this stage, and most people might take them home, but I’m afraid that’s not right. Often the parents are in the area, and they feed the baby birds. 

The best you can do is keep any predators like cats away from the bird without bothering it.