There are six subspecies of Barn Swallow, which breed across the Northern Hemisphere. Four are strongly migratory, and their wintering grounds cover much of the Southern Hemisphere as far south as central Argentina.
Barn Swallow chicks
Barn Swallow in a nest
The bird’s name derives from its noisy,
garrulous nature, and it sometimes also called a “jaybird”.
The Blue Jay measures 9–12 in (22–30 cm) from bill to tail
and weighs 2.5–3.5 oz (70–100 g).
There is a pronounced crest on the head, a crown of feathers,
which may be raised or lowered according to the bird’s mood.
When excited or aggressive, the crest may be fully raised.
When frightened, the crest bristles outwards, brushlike.
When the bird is feeding among other jays or resting,
the crest is flattened to the head.
Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue in the crest,
back, wings, and tail, and its face is white.
The bill, legs, and eyes are all black.
Males and females are nearly identical.
As with most other blue-hued birds, the Blue Jay’s coloration
is not derived from pigments but is the result of light
interference due to the internal structure of the feathers,
if a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears
as the structure is destroyed.
This is referred to as structural coloration.
The Blue Jay mainly feeds on nuts and seeds such as acorns, soft fruits, arthropods, and occasionally small vertebrates.
It typically gleans food from trees, shrubs, and the ground, though it sometimes hawks insects from the air.
It builds an open cup nest in the branches of a tree, which both sexes participate in constructing.
The clutch can contain two to seven eggs, which are blueish or light brown with brown spots.
They may remain with their parents for one to two months.
The Blue Jay occurs from southern Canada through the eastern and central USA south to Florida and
Recently, the range of the Blue Jay has extended northwestwards so that it is now a rare but regularly seen winter visitor along the northern US and
southern Canadian Pacific Coast.