Nov 172016

On August 25, there were about 3 Blue Jays here at the bird bath. I had time to get a few shots of one who, unlike the others, was pretty bare of feathers on the neck and sides of its head with short feathers growing back in on its crown.  I do recall reading about the phenomenon in a book some years ago. It was a discussion of blue jays moulting in August to look like vultures!

I googled the phenomenon and in the first link found: “If the Blue Jays are Bald, It Must Be August” It says that blue jays go through 1 complete moult per year in late summer. This moult usually proceeds in ordinary fashion that is barely noticeable, but blue jays (and cardinals) often experience a complete moult of head and maybe even neck feathers. Nothing is wrong, and these feathers will grow back. It could be the adults which show this baldness, said another site, and another yet said if the head looks completely naked, it could be caused by parasites or trauma. It appears to me that research on captive birds could clarify what is happening to rule out environmental or nutritional factors, etc.

Murray Palmer

Sep 062015

I have a Blue Jay with only her bottom beak. She shovels seed onto her beak by putting her head sideways. Since the baby jays are now feeding out of the bird feeder I have noticed one that also has only the bottom beak. I tried to find information out on the internet but have drawn a blank. Can anyone help? Does this happen often or is it rare? I was concerned she wouldn’t survive the winter but she eats as much as any of them.

Susan Rigby


Blue Jays (Gord Belyea)

Blue Jays (Gord Belyea)

May 102015

In early April, we had at least 17 Blue Jays at our feeder and in our yard at the same time. I think they were probably a north-bound flock, since we usually never have more than six. On May 4, we had two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (males) and today, May 10, we had a female. We’ve noticed over the years that the males always arrive back first, at least a week earlier than the females.  Two pairs of grosbeaks have been nesting in the woodlot behind our place for the past dozen years or more. They come to the feeder all summer long.

Neil Boughen, Warsaw

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at feeder - Drew Monkman - May 2007

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at feeder – Drew Monkman – May 2007

Blue Jays - Gord Belyea

Blue Jays – Gord Belyea