Crows and Jays

Crows and jays are in the Corvidae family more often known as the crow family or corvids. Corvids are found all over the world except for New Zealand, the southern part of South America and the North/South poles. Corvids are very intelligent and have some of the best spatial memory of any animal.
A black and white drawing of an American Crow
Illustration of an American Crow
NPS/Intern Tristan Thomas

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

• American Crows are very smart, curious, good learners, and problem solvers
• They are very social birds and they often work together and live together in large family groups to search for food or drive off predators
• American Crows eat many different foods including: grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, small animals, some aquatic animals, eggs of other birds, roadkill, and garbage

Identification Information:

• Size: bigger than a Blue Jay but smaller than a Raven (Medium)
• Color: American Crows are all black, even their legs and bill
A male Blue Jay sitting in a tree in Harpers Ferry.
Blue Jay perched in a tree in Harpers Ferry.
© Bill Telfair

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

• Blue Jays sometimes mimic the calls of hawks and this warns other jays that a hawk is around or can be used to trick other species into thinking a hawk is around
• They love to eat insects, nuts, and seeds. Sometimes they will eat dead or injured animals and steal eggs from other nests. They also sometimes store food in secret places for later
• Blue Jays are excellent mimics and can imitate many different sounds. Captive Blue Jays have sometimes learned to imitate human speech and meowing cats

Identification Information:

• Size: Robin sized (Small/Medium)
• Color: shades of blue all over the top, with black and white mixed in, white or light grey on belly
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 13, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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