One of my fondest memories as a 10-year-old child was seeing these brightly colored birds in the wild when my family moved to a rural area from a suburban post World War II development where rows of cape cod houses and strip malls took the place of potato farmland. I was accustomed to seeing the only birds that survived the suburban sprawl – brown English sparrows and iridescent black starlings with the occasional robin. Our new home was smack in the middle of Long Island pine barren woodlands complete with pitch pine trees, red and white oak trees and scrub oaks.
Blue jays were common here and when I saw them as child, it was similar to seeing the colorful birds in the Bronx Zoo exhibits. I was also impressed by the blue jays distinctive alarmist sounding call that was music to my ears yet irritating to some after the first few calls.
In grade school we learn how squirrels hide acorns and other nuts in the woodlands, forgetting where they put them all resulting in young trees being born. What many people don’t know is that blue jays are also responsible in the new growth in the forest. These Jays also stash acorns in the soil often forgetting where they put them all.
To this day, seeing or hearing blue jays brings me back to my childhood and the awe I developed for nature’s creatures.