Blue Jay

Cyanocitta cristata

Nasal bristles place it in same family as crows
Light underparts except for black collar
Vividly blue upperparts
Beauty more appreciated if not so common
Breeding is over, time to molt; no mistakening owner of feather
Puffed feathers trap warmth in winter
Data from banded birds reveal that Blue Jays mate for life
Usually noisy, but quiet at the nest
Clutch includes 2 to 7 eggs
Hungry, naked and blind nestlings
Both parents feed nestlings
We're Manhattenites; nesting in East Village, NYC
Not a pretty sight, yet
At least some blue is coming in

Slightly larger than a robin, the Blue Jay would be considered amazingly beautiful if it were not so common.  It was initially a forest bird that has adapted to living in towns and cities with groves of trees.  Despite its striking plumage it is surprisingly inconspicuous as it forges in the foliage of trees and shrubs.  However, its large repertoire of calls and songs will often announce its presence in the upland area of Salter Grove.  

Its diet includes a great variety of plant (acorns, berries, grains, seeds) and animal matter (beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, frogs, rodents).  Bird feeders at houses around the park no doubt contribute greatly to its winter diet.