Male and female jays sound and look alike. Each sex sports identical plumages of blue feathers of varying hues and large blue crests. In the fall, both sexes are vocal with a multitude of complex sounds and calls that include bell tones, whistles, chortles and shrill jeers.
In particular, the jay’s ear-splitting “jeer-jeer-jeer” call has been likened to screaming. Henry David Thoreau described it as a “steel cold scream.” In a flock of jays, one or two birds may serve as lookouts. If they spot a cat or an owl or a hawk, they’ll sound off with jeer calls, and then the whole group may erupt in blaring jeers.
Blue jays also have the uncanny ability to imitate the calls of red-tailed, broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon is in its first quarter tonight. Mercury is low in the west just after dark. Venus is very low in the west just after dark and sets shortly thereafter. Jupiter is low in the southwest at dusk and sets a few hours later. Saturn is low in the south just after dark and sets in the west around midnight. It will appear near the moon tonight.