Jay, the popular name of many conirostral birds of the crow family, and subfamily garru-linae, inhabiting Europe, Asia and its archipelago, and America. One of the handsomest of the genera is cyanura (Swains.), of which the type is the blue jay, and all the species, about 20 in number, belong to America; in this genus the head is crested, the bill rather slender and curved at the tip, which is slightly notched, the wings and tail blue with transverse black bars; the circular nostrils are concealed by bristles; the wings are rounded, with the fourth, fifth, and sixth quills the longest; tail about as long as the wings, lengthened, and graduated; the toes strong, with the hind claw large and longer than the toe. The blue jay (C. cristata, Swains.) is too well known to need description; it will be sufficient to say that the general color above is light purplish blue, with the wings and tail ultramarine; the under parts are whitish, with a black crescent connected with a half collar on the neck above; besides the black bands on the wings and tail, the lateral feathers of the latter are tipped with white.
This lively, impertinent, and noisy bird is one of the most graceful and beautiful inhabitants of our woods; it is found all over the United States, as far west as the Missouri, and as far north as Canada, remaining often through the winter in New England. It has a very mischievous disposition, robbing the farmer's corn crib, sucking eggs of other birds, and tearing the young to pieces; it possesses considerable imitative power, and seems to take delight in uttering the cry of the sparrow hawk to terrify the small birds and make them rush to cover; it is very quarrelsome, and in an aviary will soon destroy other birds of its size. When eggs and tender birds fail, they eat nuts, fruits, grain, and insects; they breed in all parts of the United States, though in Florida they are in a great measure replaced by the cyanocitta Floridana, and west of the Rocky mountains by Steller's jay. Their usual note is a harsh scream, uttered by all in the neighborhood at the approach of any rapacious bird or quadruped or human enemy, and on this account a jay is often a nuisance to the sportsman in quest of nobler game. The length is about 12 in., and the extent of wings 14. - The genus cyanocitta (Swains.) includes the jays without a crest, with no bands on the wings and tail, and with shorter wings.
In G. Californica (Strickl.) the belly and under tail coverts are dull white; in C. Floridana (Bonap.) the belly is brownish ash; in C. ul-tramarina (Strickl.) the blue color is very rich, with the under tail coverts white. The prevailing color is blue in all these jays. The Canada jay (perisoreus Canadensis, Bonap.) is about an inch less than the blue jay, of a general cinereous color above, smoky gray below, with a whitish breast and neck and brown nu-cleal patch. It is found throughout the northern parts of America, even into New York and
Blue Jay (Cyanura cristata).
New England. The habits are much the same as those of the blue jay, its common name of carrion bird indicating its carnivorous propensities; the young are sooty brown, and are often called "whiskey-jacks." Several other jays are described by Baird and Brewer. The jay of Europe (garrulus glandarius, Linn.) is a handsome bird, about as long but not so thick as a pigeon, of a light reddish brown color, the fore part of the head whitish with black spots, and the feathers elongated so as to form an erectile crest; the blue wing coverts are banded with black; the quills of the wings and tail, and broad band from the base of the bill under the eye, black; the female differs but little from the male. It is common in England, southern Scotland, and other parts of Europe; shy and suspicious like all the crow family, it frequents wooded districts, feeding prin-pally on nuts, worms, and insects, in summer visiting gardens for the sake of their fruits and leguminous vegetables; it also plunders the nests of other species, and sometimes pounces on field mice and small birds.
The flight is direct and quick, and performed with great dexterity through the thickets; the ordinary notes are harsh and loud; its power of imitation, especially in captivity, is considerable, embracing the sounds of birds and domestic mammals, and any noise which may come to its ears. The eggs, from five to seven, are l 1/4 x 5/6 inch, pale bluish green, with faint freckles of purplish and yellowish brown.
Jay, an E. county of Indiana, bordering on Ohio, and drained by the head waters of Sala-monie and Wabash rivers; area, 370 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 15,000. The surface is undulating, and the soil of various qualities, but mostly fertile. The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis railroad passes through the S. W. corner, and the Cincinnati, Richmond, and Fort Wayne line intersects it. The chief productions in 1870 were 282,935 bushels of wheat, 216,090 of Indian corn, 96,139 of oats, 18,946 of flax seed, 24,106 of potatoes, 78,866 lbs. of wool, 290,459 of butter, 45,003 of maple sugar, and 10,852 tons of hay. There were 6,046 horses, 4,192 milch cows, 4,352 other cattle, 24,938 sheep, and 16,866 swine; 4 carriage factories, 1 woollen factory, 1 flour mill, and 7 saw mills. Capital, Portland.