We authors of Birds of South Dakota argued about Blue Jays. Are they migratory? “I recapture the same banded birds all year,” said Dave Swanson. “Recoveries of birds banded in South Dakota range from Saskatchewan to Texas,” I countered.
No wonder we were confused. Some Blue Jays are year-round residents across their range. Others migrate. I thought maybe only the young migrate. Banding studies indicate that less than 20% of any given population, regardless of age, migrate. Some individuals migrate one year and not the next. The non-migratory roaming of some young jays further confuse matters. Suffice to say, the movements of Blue Jays are poorly understood (Smith et al. 2013)
As I wrote in a previous blog, the beauty of Blue Jays tends to be under appreciated. I banded this handsome bird this May in Northfield, Minnesota.