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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I found Scub Jay what do I do? by Tim Rumford

If you find a bird and want some advice -- please post it as a question here, so everyone can learn and teach along the way. You do not need to be a member of Blogspot to post comments.

I want to thank everyone for the many e-mails I have received. With spring upon us, many people are writing in asking for information on what to do with a Scrub Jay after they have rescued one. When I found Blue, he was only a day old. Age is important in deciding what you should do, and what to decide.

I will be posting a diet for different aged birds that will be available as a permanent link soon.

First off, people need to know that if a bird can fly and it is just stunned. Keep it in a dark padded box for ten minutes. They almost allays wake up and fly away unharmed. If the bird can fly and has only minor injuries, do not associate with it on a social level as much as possible as it heals. Do not even let it see you if you can. Do not talk to it until you know if your keeping this bird. Wear gloves when feeding it. They imprint and bond to people at very quickly. They cannot be released once in your care for long. They will smell and sound wrong and the other jays will kill it.

If the bird has any serious injuries, call animal rescue. In many cases, there are good local non-profits or collages with agencies that will take the bird. The have the knowledge and resources to care for it and release it.

In some cases, they will allow you to keep it after it has healed if they feel you will take care of it and it cannot be released. It is illegal in California to keep a Scrub Jay without permission. Although sometimes right is right, law or not.

Deciding to keep Scrub Jay or a Crow or any intelligent bird is something someone should not make in hast. Make sure your going to give it a happy life. A sad caged bird is the horrible site. You cannot just put food in its cage and leave for the day. These are extremely social birds. Scrub Jays are in the Crow family. To keep one means a possible 12-year or longer commitment of spending hours a day with your bird. Talking, feeding, cleaning up after it and just paying constant attention to your companion will be a part of daily life. Blue spent 6 hours out of his cage a day minimum. Two hours were spent just playing. If you work all day, you are probably not a good candidate for having a Scrub Jay. Passing it off to someone else after it thinks you are its parent is a gamble. It may not even survive. The trauma and stress alone could kill it.

However, sometimes strange things happen. One person who wrote in has a shared custody of sorts. They let the bird go after a few days of healing up, it flew to its family, and it returns every night to sleep and eat. They have good intentions and I think all will work out with this arrangement. Another person really took the time and made the perfect decision. She took it to a rescue agency and after the bird has healed, it will come home with her. She can visit daily to keep the bond going. She has the time and understands the responsibility.

I will be posting some pictures and video of these new pen pals of Blues. It will be interesting to see how their behavior differs.

I want to comprise a list of any rescue agency that accepts Scrub Jays in California and any information on their reputation. If you know of a good or bad agency please post it here.


Anonymous said...

We recently rescued a baby scrub Jay. We had no idea what we were doing, and immediately feeding it wrong. It was clear it was going to die, my son was heart broken. We found your site and learned more about them. We changed his diet and within days he was perky. We then read this post and tried releasing him to his parents. We hoped we had not had it long enough and because it was older, just able to fly, he would not be rejected. It worked although it took much time.

Me and my son would like to thank you. We realized we do not have the time to raise such an animal from watching Blues videos and reading your posts. We also realized we were being selfish in keeping it when it was clear suddenly that it had a chance to fly free.

We both feel better, and will get a bird from the pet store that requires less attention. Any suggestions. My son now loves birds and wants to care for one, he is 11.

Again, thanks for your guidance.

It is evident that these birds as you say our very social and would need lots of daily attention and our house is empty during the day.

Frank and Ken Meyers San Diego

Realist said...

Thats a great story and you both made great choices. Truth is that most birds that people try and rescue die. But with the internet, more people are learning what to do, because each case is very different. A man on the internet helped me, or Blue would have surly died being so young. The reason I started this site was to help people when they find a bird in distress as well as document Blues life. I am glad the information is helpful.

As far as a good bird to start with brings up many factors to consider. I will answer the main ones. This will be a post topic soon.
Much depends on how much time and care and room you have. Canaries and Finches are inexpensive and very fun. They do not need as much social attention but lots of daily cage maintenance, cleaning and correct diet and environment. They are fun to watch . They are like cartoon characters. Canaries sing beautifully, Finches do too, but its not as song like. Some people find their constant chatter annoying. We have both here. They need a mate to be happy. Your son would learn allot about the importance of good diet and cleannesses in the cage, changing water, and washing the cage, perches etc. Both these birds need very clean environments.
A Cocktail would be a good choice as well. A larger bird and nore social bird. If it has a buddy or two, they do not need constant attention as Blue does.
This brings us to the next important factor, deciding if you want a hand fed bird or a non-had fed bird.
A hand fed bird was fed and cared for by a human so its tame and needs social time with you and your help at times. It is more dependent on you. It also has more freedom, as you can let them fly and return to their cages, walk around with them on your shoulder etc. They cost more but make far more interesting and interactive companions.
If you get two birds that mate, finches and Carnies build nests, which is fun to watch, they will lay eggs. You can end up with allot of birds quickly which means taking their eggs unless you want to raise birds. Finches and Canaries get over this very quickly.

I think this is the longest answer I have ever written. But I am glad you posted the comment. I have been swamped with rescues and please for help in e-mails. This way everyone can learn. I will be posting their stories with some video and photos soon. Other bird people, please chime in an d share your knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for all this information. We have decided to start with some canaries, and see how that goes.

Again thanks for all the time and energy you gave in helping u us.

Frank Meyers

peteski said...

Animal Rescue (LA County I think) was called by our neighbor after some of a 30 foot tall bamboo stand was cut down and a nest containing three chicks was found. Rescue guy came, put them in a makeshift nest in a tree far far too close to a fence that the neighbor(same one)'s young cat uses as a walkway. I mentioned the proximity to the fence and the neighbor said the birds will be able to protect the nest. The Jays (mom and dad) have been our crazy neighbors for a year and so we are familiar with their antics. They're pretty aggressive but I had my doubts concerning the cat. Next day the cat killed one chick and caught another one which she(the neighbor) rescued from cat's jaws. I took over, put both in the nest, put the nest on my roof next to a large bogenvia. They both immediately jumped out of the nest and down to the bottom of the large bush. Me and my wife fenced them in around the bottom with chicken wire later on today when we saw the cat on the prowl. We asked the neighbor to keep the cat indoors for a day (no, with some BS excuse). So to protect them from another attack we caught both tonite and have them in a box, with chicken wire over it, on the roof ajacent to the bogenvia. We fed them the egg yoke/catfood mix and will release - at least one of them in the morning. The one rescued from the cat's mouth is not doing so well. His/her big brother/sister will fly away tomorrow for sure. In the morning, Mom and Dad will be able to feed them/the one left thru the wire, HOPEFULLY. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Pete in Venice

Realist said...

Great job, by far the most innovative yet. I am surprised animal rescue even did that. Many people believe that cats should not be allowed outdoors. I have mixed feelings. I had a very happy cat that lived indoors, and his life was wonderful. Him and Blue even became close buddies. He sat on the cats head after a few years. The cat came to me de-clawed. So I am starting to get on the bandwagon of starting to get people to keep their cats indoors.

Your doing the perfect thing and I wish you all the luck. If they have feathers and are not just weeks old, you can feed them some solids, it depends how old. Most birds here are well on their way to flying and eating adult food. It sounds like they fly, so you can feed them fruit, not too much, worms, etc. Sounds like you have it under control. Please keep us informed and take a few pics if you can. If the other bird is not doing well, it may have internal injuries. Or it could be dehydrated. If they fly, they are well past the point of getting their water from food and need it available.

peteski said...

As predicted the healthy one flew off into the bush this morning. The smaller one tried to go but fell all the way (12 ft) to the ground, bouncing off branches along the way. Wifey recaptured him and he's now in chicken wire cylinder cage with no roof under the bush branches on the roof. No predators can get him there (other than another bigger bird) and mom and dad and myself are taking turns feeding him. So far so good.

I'm guessing as soon as he's healthy/big enuff he can fly up and out? the cage is about two and a half feet high.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for info on a Stellar Jay. My husband and I were on our deck and observed our chickens attacking a young stellar jay. We caught it and brought into the house. It's good size but can't fly. I have been feeding it black sunflower seeds. How long can we keep the bird and release it without it suffering the consequences of being in a human habitat? Any info you have will be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

My husband found an adult scrub jay that was crouched under a car. The nearby neighbors said it ran from bushed under the car and could not fly. He brought the bird home and I put it in a 3x3 ft. cage (extra-we also have aconure-parrot). The scru is beautiful. fluffy blue+ gray. Seems a bit overweight as far as some of the on-line photos I've seen. No physical injuries. I did hear there is a cat across from where my husband found the bird, so I wonder if it got into a fight and is just stunned. It hopped around the house for a while, but this was 3 hrs. after we got it, so I'm not sure why it won't fly. I read that imprinting with humans could be disasterous for the BEAUTIFUL brillianly colored, fluffy bird,,,so I want to find a wildlife rehabber in california. We live in Orange County. Does anyone know of someone we can contact for specific help with this type of bird? Any info will be helpful. In the meatime, I'm tryin not to get too attached.
Kelly Marshall -direct email address is

Realist said...

I have not gotten any rescues in awhile as spring has passed. If you can take a pic of the bird and send it, it might help me determine age and flight issues. If you do not want a Scrub Jay for life, try to get it outside where you think the parents hang out. They may come get him. This has worked with others. I have had little luck finding anyplace in Orange County, as I am far from there, but if you do find a place, let me know so I can use it as a resource for others.

He sounds old enough for solid food and water. He may have an injury. If they are simply spooked, which can happen, they snap out of it quickly and fly away. Let me know how things progress. Peace

Anonymous said...

i have a cat but i really want this bird whatdo i need to do? i dont want to get rid of my cat .but i really want this bird! please help me!!!!!!!!!!!

Realist said...

I had a car throughout Blues life. My cat passed on a year ago. Blue used to sit on his head. My cat was an inside cat, neither of them knew the outside. Also my cat was de-clawed by a previous owner, I do not condone doing that. You have to be with your bird and cat when there together, thats the only logical solution. Most adult scrubs are capable of running a cat off, but a domesticated bird is helpless. A LARGE cage for your scrub would be a good idea, but only use it when its necessary, they like to be out. Hope this helps some.

FourMileFarm said...

We found a young scrub jay, or some kind of jay, being attacked by a cat. I couldnt catch the cat - every time I put the baby up on a branch it would fly down and the cat would go after it again. The parents were screeching like crazy at the cat. Our dog and all the goats were staring at the whole crazy scene. It was quite an experience for every one on the farm. LOL.
So, I cant release the baby because of the cat! I will post a picture of it on my blog. The parents are definitely blue, but the baby is green. We are boiling some eggs to feed it right now.

Realist said...

What Sate are you in? Its not a scrub. Its out of my realm of knowledge. Look on the net. Be careful what you feed it. If it looks like a scrub, then it probably needs the same. But the more human contact the less chance of release. Find an Animal rescue. Ask if the rangers simply euthanasia...
, as they do here in my county and state. But there are many Native animal resuce centers now. Call the nearest UC campus if you have one. They often have a program.

If none of these things work. Identify it, and search the net for someone who knows more about that bird. Thats what saved Blue.

Most babies eat every half an hour, you will know as it will be screaming for it. They get water from the food at first. Although some drops to the beak of a distressed bird is OK.

I hope this helps. Find the owner of that cat and demand they keep it off your ranch. I know, easier said then done. I love cats. But I do not condone letting them run wild killing birds for fun. Its instinct yes. But we were never meant to have as many cats as we do, so they kill far too many rare birds.

I am going to check my book for green and blue birds??? but give me some more info. Know, it may have injuries your unaware of. If it passes on, you did the best you could.

Peace and good luck!!!

I really try and persuade people not to keep birds, unless they are really ready for a 12 to 20 year commitment, a bird that can fly in your house, where you must clean everything daily. Some can do it, and thats great. If you want to release it. Keep it in a dark warm box. And only have contact when feeding. Then when it can fly let it go. Sometimes with a small amount of contact they will live outside and come around allot and be your bud. It all depends on the intelligence of the bird in relationship to the bonding thing. It only takes a few days for a scrub. They mate for life.

So, you seem like very caring folks. Try and fin a place that treats and releases. You must identify that bird. If you caught a look at its parents. I have a book. Tell what state, nearby city, colors, size, anything you know, or grab a bird book yourself. You can simply go to a feed store and browse through one.

If its cold there at night. Put a heating pad under the box on LOW. Only if its cold. He must be kept very warm.

Realist said...

Ok So your in TX. Very nice site and ranch and family. Your very blessed. Everyone check it out, very cool.

Maybe a Green jay. Not common here but native and most common there. They look very different to me as adults as what i think of as a jay, here in California.

Google "Texas Green Jay"
Also go here for pic
if thats it is. Many sites about these birds. Very cool looking to say the least.

Also try searching for "Texas Green Jay Rescue"

You seem to have the knack with animals, you will do fine. Please send any videos, pictures and updates as time allows. We like to keep track of this stuff to help others. I left you my email on top post of your blog in comment.


FourMileFarm said...

That naughty cat is OUR cat! She is indispensible when it comes to mice, and rarely gets a bird. SO upsetting when she does. We have finally succeeded in teaching her to leave the hummingbirds alone. She used to lie in wait for them on the deck railing... but has learned not to!
Thanks for all your help and research in figuring out what kind of bird it was, even though the poor little thing died from it's injury.

Realist said...

It was a Warbler, in the flycatcher family. MacGillivray's Warbler 99.7% sure. Will post picture soon, or go their Blog at

Neat website too!

This happens and they did there best. It was wounded as happens. At least it did not die in the cold night and was given comfort as it passed. Cats for mice on a ranch I understand. Peace! Tim

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I have a scrub jay nest in my front yard, with two chicks a little over a week old. One is doing well, but the other seems to have been rejected by his mother. He's very weak, much smaller than the other chick, cannot grasp much with his claws, and rarely opens his eyes. I managed to feed him a little formula and water, but I'm not sure what else I can do. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.


Realist said...

Did the nest fall? Please don't take anything in the email the wrong way. I just need to understand more.

I need to know the age, so a pic would be handy.

Its really going to be hard to raise two birds and release them & keeping them is a whole different commitment. Once you start to socialize with them, chances of releasing them is faint. They can bond in three days. If you have touched the nest etc. Hard to put it back. People have done amazing things to protect a nest and still allow the parents to get to it. see comments

Read the post " I found a scrub jay

what do I do? Link on the right of my Blog if you have not. Read the comments too.

The parents stay in the same general area. Often there is a weaker bird, but that is part of nature. It often will get attacked by a crow, allowing the other to live. I am not saying you should not have intervened, I don't know the details. But raising these birds is a huge commitment, for 20 years. You need a permit to be legal. In Florida call fish and game as they are VERY endangered.
In California find a local native animal rescue as the rangers will kill them which I do not condone. Email me you city and state and I can help more. If you have a UC campus or large collage, the often run a animal rescue center.

Do you want to rear to release?

Either way, there is much you need to know.

Email me of you like at
and I can help more.

The need food every 30 min as babies, none at night. They get water from their food at first so its liquefied. There are some diet tips on my blog to the right and in the post I mentioned. I will update them with some others. But I am hesitant not knowing more about the entire situation. So email me so I can help more.
If you have a native animal rescue call them now. As they have the resources to keep and feed them without touching or socializing so they can be released.


Realist said...

Sorry I was a bit tired when i read your post. I see you posting your comments to the same post I told you to read. Read the comments and email me if you need help.

Anonymous said...

I am fellow scrub jay rescuer at the moment. First it was one baby, now it's bro or sis has also come into our care. They are getting their full feathers and are trying to fly, but they are still fairly young...I would say that they are a week or two away from full fledging.
The first baby was exhausted when we got him away from a neighbor's cat and we didn't know what to do with him, so we gave him a little sugar water from a syringe. Is that bad for him?
The first baby is still very weak and lethargic, being a bit smaller than it's counterpart, I have to tick him off to feed him.
We are now feeding them cut up worms and bits of almond. I am willing change this diet if you think that it is insufficient. They attack the forceps now and make little noises when I feed them and we are keeping them in a large box under the tree that they fell out of. Their parents come and perch on the edge of the box, but I have yet to see them actually enter the box.
So my two questions in this long winded tale are...
1) is sugar water bad for the babies?
2) Are worms and almonds detrimental to their health?

Thank you so much for putting this info out there where people can access it. We hate to see anything suffer, and we want these babies to fledge and go on to be productive scrub jay adults...
Oh, one more thing...we take them out in the evening and with gloves, we exercise them by holding their legs and gently moving them in an up and down motion. My thinking is that it will help them get strong enough to fly is that flawed thinking on my part? Will they imprint on us as their parents, or their tormentors? I would rather be their kind tormentor than their parent.
Again thank you! Take care
-scrubby lovers in Cali

Anonymous said...

P.s. Since being on your site a few hours ago and leaving my questions, I have started feeding the babies V8 veggie juice with the syringe. I have fed them with it twice now and they both seem perkier and happier. I am going to trade the almonds for the v8 and continue with the worms since I know that they need the protein.
No more sugar water will go into them and no more almonds until they are a little bigger. ;)
-scrubby lovers in cali

Realist said...

Thanks for writing. Please send any pics if you have any. we like to keep track of these things and the outcome.

Even at this age, they get much of their water from food and need allot of protein. Instead of V8 juice, which i am sure hydrated them, get some plain Gerber baby food. Pure peas, carrots, or whatever, but make sure its just illiquid veggies and water. Also, they need more protein. The worms are great. But add some eggs yolk, cooked and make semi liquefied mixture out of all or any of the above. Maybe with egg yolk and water and crushed cat food. They really need this. I got Blue at like 1-2 days old. Knowing these things saved his life.

You can get baby food for birds called Exact. This is good, but not enough protein for a Scrub. I would still add the yolk, as well as grounds up cat food. This is essential to their diet. It has most everything they need. Buy an organic and small bag of something decent, but nothing fancy. If its cold at night a heating pad under a box on LOW. can help. Although its damn hot here.

Since they can almost fly. Try and let the parents to see them. If you have a cage, put it out side for a bit. You can release these birds if yo do not talk, touch or interact much. Easier said then done. They will not leave often and become bonded to you for life in about 3 days. Longer at this age. Still often at this age, as soon as they can fly, let them go. give them a way to get back in. You may end up with shared custody. This has happened before. Or friends that come an visit but are still free.

If this is impossible call Native animal rescue if you have one. Rangers in Ca. will just kill them or not come. I was wrong its not q 12 year commitment, its 1 30 year commitment. They are wonderful birds but need lots of room, attention daily. Raising two,may e harder. I am not sure. It may be easier in some ways. I hope you try and release them. Tech you need a permit in California. Although, if you can promise yourself to give them a good life, that is better then letting them die. If you cannot, they cant just be given away if you tire. Going on vacation becomes a huge issue. I spend ten hours a day with Blue. They mate for life, as do they bond.

Not trying to get preachy. Just don't dive into a decision. They are highly intelligent and thus require allot of attention.
You can email me directly at
Good luck, and no matter what happens I know you will try your best and thats all we can do.


Realist said...

meant its not a 12 year but 12-20 year commitment.

If you have the room for a very very large aviary. That would be great.

if you do keep them. Soon they will want to steal everything shinny. The become acrobats as flying babies. Blue could do circles in my car, without touching anything and pick a dime out of my hand without touching me. If your anywhere near Santa Cruz I can point you to a Native animal rescue who will make sure they are released.

keep us posted. also they do sleep all night without food. Otherwise by now they should be eating like every 30 45 minutes. they start at every 15 minutes. if they flap with an open mouth and cry, you can feed them. Don't worry about over feeing too much. They eat until they are full and sleep. Keeping them in the dark when you are near, is key to full release. If thats you plan. Email me and I will help you in anyway I can, whatever you decide.

Boxerhouse said...

We, too, have rescued a little scrub jay from the claws of my daughters cat. It is just getting it's mature feathers on tail and wings. Still has down on chest and head. Right rear leg is having trouble coming forward to grasp branches. We tried setting it on our fence to see if it could fly. It flies straight at the ground, but floats along for about 2 feet. The parents are hanging around. I called our Wildlife sanctuary, but their after hours message said to put it in a box and don't feed or water it. I suspect so it will be able to bond with parents again????? I feel so bad leaving it in the shoe box with air holes. Where do I put it? I'm afraid to leave it outside anywhere as the night time cats are always out! Would it be too hot in my house? My garage is where our cat sleeps, so that's definitely out. I can take a pic and email it you want. I can't raise it. Would really like to get it to rescue, but am nervous about it dying overnite! Please help. Thank you. Oh, we are in Southern Oregon. Thanks!

Realist said...

Well... Sorry I missed this yesterday. How did the night go? This is a hard one. I agree to try and leave birds outside when the parents are still around AND interested. Blue was abandoned as all the other babies were killed. I am not sure the parents even knew he was still there.

But yes it is due to the bonding. I would still feed the guys and watch and see if the parents come. If they do, let them take over. You can, as another couple did last year, build an enclosure around the box so the parents can feed them but the cats cannot get to them.

If they are abandoned, no parents feeding or taking interest. Then feed them some water mixed with some egg yolk. That will get them going they eat very often. Wear gloves.

If you interested in rearing them to be released. I can show you how but you must be home, all day 7 days a week till they are ready.

IF you decided to not let them die, if thats what is going to happen, remember, you will have a huge 20 year job on your hands. They take so much time. I know I have said this so many times. But, I really do not condone keeping birds except in very certain situations in ca, as the euthanasias them if you call Fish and Game. You need to ask your self if you have the time, will and want to do such a big job. I cant even go on vacation. But I made a promise to Blue. So I keep it. Some people get made that I discourage people. But, having done this for 10 years now. Blue is on my hand pecking my typing fingers. Its a HUGE commitment, or a very sad bird.

Since they are more then a few days old as Blue was, you have a better chance of release. Build the enclosure if you can. Whatever you decide will be OK. In this situation I am not even sure what the moral thing to do is. But they are not endangered here. Only in Florida, where it is VERY illegal to keep one. But they will also rescue one in 2 seconds. If your anywhere near Santa Cruz, we have a native animal rescue that will take it.

I hope this helps and doesn't make things too complicated. The injured bird is less likely to make it or may be denied by the parents.

Build it they will come.

Otherwise diets are posted on my site. Also throughout these comments. I will answer any email you send me at


Realist said...

Here is an example of what a smart person did. reposting comment:
As predicted the healthy one flew off into the bush this morning. The smaller one tried to go but fell all the way (12 ft) to the ground, bouncing off branches along the way. Wifey recaptured him and he's now in chicken wire cylinder cage with no roof under the bush branches on the roof. No predators can get him there (other than another bigger bird) and mom and dad and myself are taking turns feeding him. So far so good.

I'm guessing as soon as he's healthy/big enuff he can fly up and out? the cage is about two and a half feet high.

Anonymous said...

Hello again from the scrubby lovers in Cali.
We've been having quite the ups and downs with a lot of triumphs and a few tragedies.
We built our little friends a chicken wire pen under the tree where they fell and left it open at the top so that it formed a large oval anchored to the chain link fence and the parents could get in and out of it safely . We then put newspaper wadded up in there for a little shelter for them.
It turned into a great success with the parents taking back the full feeding regiment for both babes.
Then one evening we heard the alarm calls of the adults and saw a cat pouncing into the cage. We got out there in time to save them from the ravenous jaws of the over sized kitten, and we managed to build a nice roof of chicken wire with boxes on top to protect them thru the night. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, of re-anchoring the cage to the fence and anchoring the front side of it to a 5 lb. block of wood with a bracket and a nail, the cat came back in the night and ripped the cage off of the fence and tore it open, taking the small baby and possibly injuring the larger one, for now he has what appears to be a dislocated hip or a broken knee.

We refashioned the cage, mourning the loss of our little guy and trying to leave the bigger one to his parents for comfort and food. But we now bring the baby in every night and put him back out every morning. The parents are perfectly fine with this arrangement and even seem grateful as we come tearing out of the house to chase off crows and cats. They seem to understand that we are not going to hurt them and watch us with curiosity as we exercise the baby in the front yard by gently letting it flutter to the ground.
The other day, our little one got a pleasant visit from an older sibling who had just fledged. They must have been from the same brood, but with the other 2 gone, he got all of the warmth and food, so he grew bigger. He came and sat next to our srubby and they touched beaks thru the fence while mom and dad fed them both and showed the bigger one how to fly. It was really a neat thing to get to watch and know that we had a small part in. Despite our grief over the loss, we have the joy of watching and enjoying the triumphs. I'll post pictures at a later date if I can.

-Scrubby lovers in Cali

Realist said...

Hello Scrub Jay lovers in Ca.

It is a great example what you have done, despite the loss of one bird, you have given a chance to the other, and at great effort and time. You are the perfect example of what people should do. I applaud your efforts and please keep us informed. It shows others what extent the parents will try and continue to feed their own.

Again thanks so much. Send in some pics or video if you have any. Sounds like you have you hands full. Thanks for posting your efforts and thoughts.

mick said...

I have a family of scrub jays in my backyard, in Santa Rosa, CA. Skree Skree! They're beautiful and curious. I have my coffee in the morning in the back yard, watching them enjoy the peanuts, raisins and seeds I put out for them. I mistakenly thought the smaller gray birds with them were females (Twee? Twee? vocals). Any idea who gets along so well with my big blue buddies? They seems to cohabitate the trees and yard and food with no territorial probs. I'm a jay fan. I love 'em!

Realist said...

Hi Mick,
Scrubs that travel in "Packs" can he more aggressive, mostly to cats as they love their food. But even then they get along with most any bird that is not a threat to them. Most birds in the Covid family you will find hanging around with Scrubs. Black birds of many variations. Many are Grey as youngsters or as females.

Here we have all kinds of birds from scrubs, swallows, finches and a variety of Black birds or often called "Cow Birds". When a threat comes they all work together to alarm each other to crows and will even work together to scare one or more away. Thanks for the comment!

Some have a red streak on their wing "Red Wing Black Birds, and others are just ... more plain.

Sometimes they make a sound as you describe, some sound like water when groups of them get together and make noise.

zita said...

i just found a baby scrub jay egg on the ground and put it under lighting for heat, and now its beak is poaking through the shell!!!
what do i do when it comes out???


Anonymous said...

Today we found a baby scrub jay on the ground under the tree where the nest is. My son stated that a big black bird attacked the nest leaving with a baby in its mouth so I am guessing the other one fell out. The bird is starting to get its colored feathers but has mostly down. It can stand & move its wings so it doesn't appear to be injured. We put it in an open top cage with some torn up newspaper. The parents seem to be taking care of it. We are planning to put it in a chicken wire cage so the parents can still feed it but also protect it from preditors. We are planning on bringing it in at night & putting it back out during the day. Would love to have any advice you could share with us as to whether we are doing the right thing. We live in Austin, TX. Thanks for your help in advance.

Realist said...

Sorry I have been away. Let me say thank you for doing the right thing. Its very hard to know when your doing harm or helping. If I had more knowledge when I found Blue, I would have done things differently. Sorry for the delay. You and your son did a great job and should be very proud, a free bird is a happy bird.

Realist said...

Hi folks in TX. You sound like your doing the right thing. Thanks for going to such lengths. Wear gloves even when handling the cage and have as little interaction with the babies as possible so the parents continue to care for them. If the parents are caring for them, that's great. Let me know how they are doing. I am sorry I was away. At this point making sure they have water and a safe place is most important if the parents are feeding them.
Don't be surprised if the parents and the babies end up being very friendly to you if they make it. They often will fly and just bump the top of your head, which is a sign of affection.
Others, as you have most likely read have done similar things and it worked great! I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to email me directly at

I am back home and will answer quickly.

Anonymous said...

Hi, last week I discovered a baby scrub jay in my back yard. He has blue feathers on his wings and tail, but for the most part is still all downy feathers. I contacted local animal control, they told me call the humane society, well the humane society doesnt deal with wildlife. The local division of wildlife wont do anything unless they are protected. I found an outfit that would take him, but they are about 70 miles away. I would just leave him out in my yard, but I have a 4mo. old black lab puppy with a VERY good nose. I dont know how far off he is from flying. I have created a make-shift pen, but either the dog gets into that, or the bird gets out. Just wondering what I should do? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I found a baby scrub jay in my backyard and I need information. No parents. No nest. I found a sibling dead, what do I do?

Anonymous said...

i have been feeding a baby scrub jay for about three weeks now. i cant get him to eat on his own. he was as big as the babys in the video when we got him three weeks do i get him to eat on his own?

Realist said...

First off is the bird inside? Are you trying to keep it or release it. The food needs to be moist, use the product exact. I am sorry i have been ill and not up on my Blog, although most everything you should need is here.

There are no for sure rules on what works and I really try and get folks to release the birds. But that doesn't always work.
Try feeding the bird baby food, carrots and water, they need a balance between veggies and protein. Is he acting not hungry, or upset? Most little ones will cry for food, mouth open, but you must feed them with a dropper or spoon until they are large enough to eat on there own. Please email me directly at

Jeanne said...

My new neighbor is moving in. he opened his storage shed yesterday and saw a baby stellar jay. He/ she is kind of freaked out, hungry, and probably dehydrated. I got it outside and kept an eye on it from a distance but no others in sight. So before I found your website and found out how bad it was to do, I picked it up and brought it home. I used a syringe to give it some water. It can fly but seems disoriented and unsure. It has all feathers but short tail feathers. (not all grown in yet?) It is sitting on the screen of my laptop right now watching me type. I have an "un-official" rescue. I.E. my friends give me animals they find or don't want to care for. So I don't mind caring for it I just don't know how. Any pointers you could give would be great. Thanks.

Realist said...

Well if you plan on keeping him and he is perched on your screen that a good sign. Blue loves that spot because the screen top gets warm. Please read through some of my Posts on how much attention they need and how much they bond to you. Sounds like you did. Once he is fully bonded you can never release him. Giving him to others to take care of is very hard if you even vacation, more so as they get as they get older. Blue is over ten now. I got him younger.

So if your little guy is not screaming for food every half hour, then he is just beyond the age of being fed liquidated food every half an hour and just starting to eat solids too. Still i would stick with Cat food, Egg yolk boiled, EXACT from the pet store, fruit, Gerbers baby food like carrots and yams, just the stuff that is water and the veritable. Hand feed him as often as he asks or takes it.

Feeding is easy as a baby, but some find it hard with the older ones. a spoon or syringe is good.

a cage with lots of nuts to hide shiny objects, toys. He needs his own house, even if he flies free most of the day. They have an urge to hide 8000+ nuts a year. This may come later.

He will start to want to be near you all the time. Please email me at if you need anymore help or just want to to in contact. Good luck. If his parents are around, and its only been a few days, you be able to reunite them. I hope this helps. Protein and Veggies and fruits is key and water of course.
Its illegal in Ca. But fish and game will kill it. Some nice vets will work on them. There are some native animal rescues around, although too few. In Florida, these birds are endangered and YOU must call it in. If you in California, its a moral decision that only you can make. They are wonderful birds they just require allot of attention and are very very social and playful. Make sure he is warm at night. They seem to love large bathroom mirrors. Coins, etc. Peace Tim

Just Some Girl said...

Hi there,

My name is Maria, and I am living in the High Desert of California.

I've had scrub jays living in my yard since the beginning of this spring - a mom and a dad. I've been giving them peanuts and really enjoying their company.
I discovered 2 days ago that they actually had a nest filled with babies in one of our trees.

Today, I went outside this morning to put out some peanuts when I discovered that two of the babies are now laying on the ground underneath the tree that contains the nest. They are fuzzy and are starting to get their feathers - so I assume they are in their fledgling stage. However, while they are breathing and one of them has been looking around - they aren't actually moving at all.
I first approached them to see how many were laying on the ground - and the parents started squawking at me so it seems as though they haven't been abandoned but I haven't actually seem mom or dad go on the ground to feed/check on them.

My yard is fenced off, but we do have feral cats in the neighborhood that have wondered back there every once in a while. Also, the nights are still pretty cold up here - tonight it is supposed to be around 45 degrees and it rarely ever rains so I don't know if that is a problem for them to find a source of water. The sprinklers in my yard are set to go off around 5AM.

Basically, I was wondering if I should put them in a box and up a little bit higher come evening to keep them safe from the cats? Are the temperatures at night too cold for these little guys to be out on their own? Should I be concerned that they aren't even hopping around or moving? Also, should I assist in feeding them or just leave that up to Mom and Dad?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer me! :)

Anonymous said...

my cat caught a baby scrub jay this morning. the little guy looks ok and is in a box in my bathroom now. mom and dad are still about. but i don't know were the nest is. i am feeding him.the special mixture. he looks like an older baby but isn't flying yet. how can i help him or her now?

Just Some Girl said...

In response to the last comment posted by Anonymous:

I'm not an expert on Scrub Jays by any means, but I found myself in a similar situation a few days ago with two baby scrub jays. I left a comment on this blog as well as emailed the author, but haven't received a response. The advice found on this blog is really good though - and there are also a few okay resources about helping baby birds if you google it. Here is some advice based on all of the research that I've done on the topic.

First of all, is the baby hopping around or flying yet? Does he have any feathers?
If the baby doesn't have any feathers and can't hop around yet he is still a nestling. If the baby has feathers, then he is considered a fledgling.

My best advice would be to look for the nest outside and try to place the baby back inside of it if he is still a nestling.
If you can't find the nest or the baby can hop around, you could put the baby in a shoebox or basket with some towels to keep the baby warm, and stick the baby outside where the parents can find it. Keep an eye to see if the parents are feeding it and caring for it throughout the day. Make sure to put the box/basket in a place that is out of reach from any cats and also do your best to keep your cat from going outside. The bird's parents are the best chance at the baby surviving.

Keep in mind, if the baby can hop there is a good chance he will hop right out of your box or basket so you want to eliminate the chance that he could hop off the edge of something - falling and hurting himself. One of the commenters above made a box topped with some secured chicken wire so the parents could still feed the babies, but the babies would not hop out. Then, after the babies can fly (it could take a few days) they would then be released from the box.

Also, if you end up putting the baby in a box and fear he could get attacked at night by a cat, you could always bring him inside for the night and let him sleep in the box in a quiet dark room. Then, you could put him back outside in the box the next morning for the parents to care for him again. The baby birds don't really eat at night, they just need to sleep and keep warm. It's best not to disturb him too much while he is in your care to lessen the chances of imprinting or stressing him out.
You would want to put him back outside pretty early in the morning when the sunrises so the baby doesn't miss any chance at getting a meal if he is hungry.

Good luck with the baby bird, and if you have anymore questions you can post comments on this blog - I'll check back to respond and do my best to help you. Or you can email me at: justsomegirlblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Kim said...

Hello. Today, my dog got into a Stellar's Jay nest. My dog caught a "teenager" who was able to fly only a short distance, and tore his/her wing off. Horrible. I got the bird away just after this happened (it happened very fast) and applied a mix of herbs to stop the bleeding. I gave the bird water, and later some raw goat milk, which it slurped down.

The wing is gone, tore off at the shoulder. I'm going to call the local animal rescue tomorrow and find out what they would do, but I'm not going to be pleased if their method is euthanasia. However, I found your blog online, read most of the posts, and value your opinion. What would you do in this situation? Have you ever dealt with a one-winged bird?


devin said...

Hello i recently spotted a baby scrub jay on the ground in my back yard. It is able to stand on a perch and i have been feeding it worms and bugs. Im not sure how old it is. It has alot of down feathers and is starting to develop tail feathers.I cant keep it because im to busy to care for it. I called the animal shelter and they wont even answer the phone! I dont want to let it die, but i cant keep it. What should i do?

Alicia said...

I found a baby scrub jay on saturday and couldn't take care of it. I found that the fresno SPCA will take birds and help them until they are able to fly on their own.

PeeJay said...

I'm sad this morning. I rescued a scrub jay two days ago but he died in his sleep last night. My only consolation is that he died in a warm bed and with a full tummy. I did my best to save him. I will miss him.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! I definitely love how it’s easy on my eyes and also the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which need to do the trick! Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

Anonymous said...

My Mother who was a wildlife rescue volunteer, raised a baby scrub jay. Named Bluie, this bird was imprinted and could not be released into the wild. Sometimes that happens. This bird learned to cough, talk, whistle, and imitate water being pored from the hose in his water bowl. The bird learned these things from my Mom as she called the dog, smoked her cigarettes, walked about pruning and watering in her back yard. Bluie lived to be 17 years old. That bird loved my Mother as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

Wow that is a talented article.. I' m get a kick it.. a-ok record

ljravenscraft said...

Bluie was truly a gift to us from the universe. My family will continue my Mother's legacy to do all for the injured and young creatures we encounter.

We humans have an obligation to do for a distressed animal all we can do. I love all animals, scales, slime, feathers, shells and exoskeletons. I learned this from my beloved Mother, Father, and Sister. It is by far the best gift any one could give of all.

ljravenscraft said...

I am glad you enjoyed that story about Bluie the Western Scrub Jay, it is 100% true and accurate.

Bluie was truly a gift to us from the universe. My family will continue my Mother's legacy to do all for the injured, and young creatures we encounter.

We humans have an obligation to do for a distressed animal all we can do. I love all animals; scales, slime, feathers, shells and exoskeletons. I learned this from my beloved Mother, Father, and Sister. It is by far the best gift any one could give to another human of all.

ljravenscraft said...

Please do your best for any bird in distress. Call your local animal wildlife rescue org for help. I have been successful in raising two sparrows that fell from their nests. Feed them small pieces of yokes from hard-boiled eggs. Go to a pet store and buy a small container of nestling food. Use a child’s medicine eyedropper to feed them. Push gently on the bulb so you do not cause harm to the bird’s craw.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I found a baby albino Scrub Jay in our backyard. We have been feeding it baby bird food from the pet store and he is looking great. We have done much research on albino birds and learned that they are picked on by other birds, have a hard time catching food because they start to lose their eyesight. I would feel horrible releasing him since he's so young and about his possible future. I also don't want to send him to a rescue since they'll most likely just throw him in a zoo. (just assuming, because there is an albino Scrub Jay in our nearby zoo.) I have plenty of time to take care of him, I just wonder what the laws are? & when to start feeding him adult food?

Anonymous said...

I would say keep and love the bird to save its life. Do not worry about laws. Just do not tell anyone you do not know VERY well and for a long time. Please do not worry about it, the laws are there to keep people from capitalizing, profiting, and maybe exploiting a bird like yours. Once the bird has feathered out like an adult, you can give them peanuts, well cooked drained lean hamburger meat. Small pieces of the yoke from a hard boiled egg, a few sunflower seeds. Zoopreme brown pellets from the pet store for cockatiels (find a place that sells it by the pound), cuttle bone. Fresh water every day and clean out the water bowl as well daily. Give the bird some toys. My Mom's scrub Jay lived a long life. He or she was a very cute bird, was too imprimted to be released. Here is my email address Write me back!!! (:

Anonymous said...

To the couple with the albino scrub baby. I forgot to add to the food list some cereal, vegetables and some fruit. My Mom was a volunteer with a wild life rescue org in Sacramento. She was very sucessful with the birds she hand raised. Only a few where too attached to be released. She is the one that taught me how to rescue baby birds. I hope it works out well. Please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Screaming Scrub Jay in our backyard. What do we do?

For the last week we have had a scrub jay hanging out in our back yard. He flies around the patio. Screeches he is trying to tell us something. He'll go away for awhile and return later. He spends at least a few hours everyday "singing" in the backyard. We've only left out a few pieces of bread from time to time and he usually eats them but still keeps squawking. He doesn't appear to be injured. Any ideas about this behavior?

Anonymous said...

The bird maybe guarding its territory. They like to dive bomb other birds and cats. I love blue jays!!!

Anonymous said...

my cat bought a baby scrub jay last month i started feeding it by hand when it was time for him to fly it wont even go i named the brid bola i leave bola outside open his cage he comes back yelling and calling at my door i have to be outside with him all the time i have 2 cats and dont no wat to do i want bola he stays in my room and some times out side but not for long

Unknown said...

Theres a baby stellar jay in our yard, a cat , a squirell and crows have been trying to get him all day!!! how can i protect him, hes almost flying!! can i shelter him with a box or something with a small opening or will the parents leave him?????

Laura Ravenscraft said...

Put in a cage or box with a sheet over it with a lite. Keep the bird until ready to fly. Feed accordingly. Keep away from kids & cats & dogs. Find a park nearby and release it.

wildlife4life said...

I have a MAJOR problem. My friend found some baby scrub jays at her house about 6 days ago. I’ve been caring for them since then. She couldn’t find the mother but found an abandoned nest. I’ve been feeding them dog food pellets soaked in water by hand. They have their wing and tail feathers but down on their backs and stomachs. One’s been trying to fly and the other’s wing feathers are not all in yet and not trying to fly. Anyway, I totally didn’t know about the whole “minimal contact with babies because of bonding” and just found out about it today. I don’t think I could take care of 2 baby scrub jays considering all the work they are. Are they still able to be released into the wild? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laura Ravenscraft said...

To wildlife4life,
The birds will be somewhat attached to you no matter what. Add more varity to their diet. Hard boil egg yokes is good, a little ground up cereal like special K with out the sweet stuff. Unsalted sunflower seeds ground up too. You can take them to a park when they have all their feathers and wish them well. That is the best you can do. It is hard thing to do for sure. My Mom had sucessfully raised and released many birds. You are doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

my scrub jay flew away after feeding him for 3 months he was a baby when my cat got it i miss him soo much he use to go with me all around my apt while i was cleaning , talking to me and playing. i miss him but where ever he is i hope his safe

Anonymous said...

My husband found "Paraguin Pickle" aka, Mr. Pickle, a scrub jay two years ago...My husband was reseeding our lawn and found him all covered in mud on the lawn. We think he must have fallen out of a nest. We tried to locate the nest, but there were no trees in the vicinity. He was barely a few days old and very weak. We took him in, cleaned him up and nursed him on crushed worms and puppy food. Because of his sparse, gray feathers, there was no telling as to what kind of a bird he was at the time. We both believe that he would have died if we would have left him there.
My husband is a musician and composer, so he is home daily. Pickle pretty much can fly anywhere he wants to. We also have a flemish giant rabbit and the two of them get along fabuously! Pickle loves to sit on my husbands shoulder or head and steal my earrings and hide them. He is our little buddy and sits with us at night when we watch tv. Then he falls asleep and we put him in his giant cage that we built just for him. He squaks in the morning to let us know he is awake...then we let him out.
Pickle, like blue, also does the sun trance in the window or, he comes into the bathroom when you take a hot shower and sits on the shower head and spreads his wings. He likes to take a steam bath.
He eats peanuts, and he loves corn, sunflower seeds, apple, banana, berries of all kinds, chicken, carrots (that he steals from Bunny) and tortillas!
He takes naps with us in the afternoon, and lets my husband stroke his back when he sleeps. He is our little buddy!My husband especially loves him. They have an amazing bond. These birds are very animated, loving and smart. They recognize their names and come when you call them! Mr. Pickle has changed our life and we understand how you have come to love blue!

Realist said...

That's a great story. Sorry I have been gone for some time. I am back to responding to questions and posts.

Sound like your doing a great job. Blue acts the same way. Loves the shower etc. I am also a musician. Blue loves to sit on my guitar.

Sounds like a nice healthy diet and Paraguin Pickle is getting a ton of affection and love from you two, that's great. Blue used to wake me up too. Now I beat him to it. He trained me...

The more broad variety of foods the better as long as they get the protein, and it sounds like your doing that. Blue is getting older but doing very well in that dept too. A few things I never addressed here. Sandpaper perches sold in pet stores or to cover perches are horrible for the pads of the feet of birds. In fact, they sell a soft tape like cover that is better for them. Allot of that type stuff sold in stores is no good or unnecessary.

If you don't already have an avian vet for Paraguin Pickle think about finding one that will treat Paraguin Pickle if needed. Since its tech not legal to have any wild bird, no matter the circumstance, some won't. Mine is great. She is the best and works on Blue anyway. Its good thing to have on hand in case of an emergency.

I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to send some pics or video in and I will post them. And check in and keep us posted on how he is doing. Of course it could be a she... A DNA test, which is pretty cheap is the only true test.

Sorry to the above people I did not respond to over the last year or so. I was having some of my own issues to attend too. I am glad to see people were helping each other.

Tim & Blue

Laura Ravenscraft said...

Blue Jays are wonderful birds, I love these stories. To me there is nothing wrong with stepping up to the plate to help any animal wild or otherwise. It is my duty to do so. Of course there is a limit ti it. If the animal becomes imprinted we need to take care of the animal properly till death do you part. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Laura Jane Ravenscraft, Sacramento, CA

Tim said...

Thank you Laura, HERE HERE!! I agree completely. I do, maybe to fault at times over impress the responsibility to step in or not... But I agree, as long as we are capable, it is, as you said our responsibility and duty to help a wild animal in distress.

Thank you very much for you comment. Sorry for the moderation and this time it takes for them to become posted. During my long absence, I was invaded by spammers. Maybe soon here we can make it free flowing again in real time.

And thank you so very much for helping others here with your knowledge, most of that time I was gone. Its really really great to see how this thread has progressed, and how people have shared and helped each other.

Peace and many thanks

Laura Ravenscraft said...

Dear Tim, you are quite welcome. My Mom had rescued many birds, not too many became imprinted. She was a certified volunteer for Wildlife Crae here in the greater sacramento area. Her Blue Jay lived to be 18 years old and was quite good at talking, coughing, and all these other vocalizations. That bird loved my Mom for sure..... so cool to have been a part of it all being a member oif the Ravenscraft family here in Sacramento, CA. My childhood was nothing less than wonderful by the great gift my sister and I got from both parents. Love and respect the Earth and all its creatures..... peace out!

Tim said...

That is wonderful, 18 years that is amazing. Sounds like a great way to grow up. I was surrounded by animals my entire life. I cant even put it into words how much Blue has touched my life.

As far as I have been told and read, its only the very young that imprint that quickly. And many people here have successfully reintroduced older Youngsters back into the wild with some work.Blue was still wet out of the egg.

I have found a pair or just one Scrub jay will befriend Blue. A pack will very much attack him if they had the chance. He got out away from me twice in 13 years. Once he flew to play with about 50 scrub Jays... Scared me to death. It did not go well. He landed in my chest just a few after being roughed up a bit. He was very ready to go back inside.

Check out the latest editions to Wikipedia on the western Scrub Jay. They think the eldest one is 15.5. Although it doesn't surprise me too much, how would they know...?

More interesting on that page as many of us know. They now say Scrub Jays by weight, are the most intelligent animal science is aware of, above even a chimp due to its planning ahead capabilities which were thought to be something only humans did... Peace and thanks Tim

Alexis said...

Hello I found 2 baby one day old birds in my yard on saturday. I've ben taking care of them since. Any advice for me to kep them alive? They're my babies now they just opened their eyes yesterday and every time they see me beaks fly up for feeding time! please help me kep them alive!

alexis said...

Do I do wet or dry dog food?

Alexis Modlin said...

Hey everyone I have a few questions... can you feed your week old scrub jay too much? and they both have dried up carrots on can I clean them without harm. When will they fly? and when they do can you teach them where to poop? and can you take them and later?

HouseOfCats said...

My dad found a baby stellar's jay yesterday evening. It was in a ditch nearly drowned. I did not want to care for it, as I was unsuccessful in caring for baby birds before. But my friend told me her grandfather, who has several different birds, would take him. So I fed him once an hour last night. He saw me and I touched and talked to him a little. Jump forward to now, my friend's grandpa will not take the bird. I cannot commit to raising him, especially because I have 4 cats who would love to have him as a snack. I want to put him back in his next, but the possibility he may be killed scares me. Also, I don't think he's imprinted on me much, my dad got out a life sized, faux feathered bird ornament and we were much more successful in feeding him every time we showed him the ornament. Is it too late to try and release him?

Unknown said...

I found a young scrub jay yesterday. He has some down but his feathers are there. I found him hopping around the garden at the school where I work. he was hiding, I presume from the numerous crows in the area. I looked for his parents. I don't even know if scrub jays care for their young after this stage. He seems like he should be able to fly soon. I can't commit to keeping the bird, because I work full time. I don't think my wife would be into taking care of him when I am working and she plans to go back to work soon. Our two year old is not much help. My goal was to rehabilitate the bird and release him as soon as possible. I have only had him for one day. I am worried about the bird becoming attached to me. I don't think it would make a good class pet. ( that's a question too) I am looking for advice generally. I would like to know if me keeping it is doing more harm than good. And if you can reccomend anyone in the sf bay who can help me. thanks.

Fellowhuman said...

If you cannot care for the bird. He will get attached to you very quickly. And soon will not be accepted by the other scrub Jays when released. Get him to a native animal rescue center pronto. Or if he can fly. Release him where you found him. The more contact the more chances they will imprint to you. And he will never leave. Wear Gloves. I would suggest something easier to care for. These birds are not good to keep simply as pets. It becomes a very long commitment of hours upon hours a day of care to keep a rescued Scrub Jay.

The parents stop feeding after a few months when they can fly. They often look a little puffy when they are young. They do keep a relationship with their parents.

Hope this helps. I would get him to a native animal rescue. Most counties have them now. They did not when I found Blue 12 years ago.

He may have an internal injury. If he just let you pick him up. Something is wrong. Not good for class. Its illegal in California to keep any wild animal. Sadly there is no grey area for when you are helping an animal.

Good luck

Derek for us said...

We have had a jay for over a month now. My son found him on the way home from school he was hurt no parents around. We have succeeded in keeping him alive and active. I love this bird, he is the highlight on my day. We built him an outside inclosure and other jays come to visit. I have noticed that he doesn't like his food mixture that he has had. He does eat wax worms and any kind of other bug I can find him, plus seeds. Can you let me know the diet you feed your bird and any suggestions? I know we are in for the long haul and I'm up for it. I think it's great you have your jay.. Thank you.

Megan said...


We have been watching a baby Stellers Jay that fell out of it's nest a bit early, and decided to catch it today. He is not a fledgeling yet, and only has 5 or six flying feathers. He was extremely dehydrated, and I have been giving him some watermelon.

"Alo" is in a little finch cage for now, but will be in something bigger soon. We have only had him for a few hours, and quickly learned he cannot fly one bit. He flaps his wings but cannot fly.

We live in Nevada and coyotes are common, so we didn't want them to get him.

What would you recommend me giving him to eat? He is most definitely a Stellers Jay, and liked the watermelon alot. But we opens his mouth for me to feed him, and just got the concept of dipping your beak into the water to drink.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Megan said...

I have researched all over the internet also, and would like to thank you for this site as it helps a lot.

Fellowhuman said...

Megan, Thanks I am sorry it took a few days to get to you. I just saw this. I hope the little guy is OK. Watermelon alone is not enough. On the front of this website on the right are some basics for feeding baby Scrubs. They need protein and get their water from their food until they can eat on their own.

The flapping of his wings is most likely him saying he is hungry. When they are very young they eat every half hour. But they sleep through the night. This will decrease as they get older until they can eat on their own. Get some Exact at the pet store right away. It is a powdered food you mix with water to a oatmeal like consistency. They need a tremendous amount of protein as well as fruits nuts and berry's. The nuts come later. Bioled eggs yolk is great too. But if depending on his age. Everything has to be watered down.

Also, as you have read just be aware if you keep him long enough. He will never be able to be released. So it is a big decision to keep them. If you have a Native Animal rescue in your area you could call them. I hope this helps feel free to post anymore questions. I will do my best to answer them. Plus there are others who post here who are very knowledgeable. Than you - Tim

Megan said...

Thank you so much, that really helped!

I have been making him little "smoothies" and feeding him form the syringe. I put a blackberry, a bit of watermelon, almond/coconut lactose free milk, boiled carrots and boiled lettuce into his latest one.

Is this enough nutrients? My parents don't have any extra money to spend, so I am just making things for him.

I took him into our breezeway today so he got some exercise, but unfortunately I think he is starting to bond to me. I try not to handle him very much, but now he squawks when anyone other than me tries to get him from his little cage.

I examined his wings closer, and he does have flight feathers on them, but he still needs to grow his tail longer.

I have been wanting and researching birds for a while, so I am going to ask my parents if I can keep him, but right now they want me to let him loose when he can fly.

"Peep" has been quite active in his cage and isn't listless, so I think he is doing pretty well.

I am just worried he isn't getting enough nutrients, so I'm going to start adding boiled eggs to his drinks. Is there anything else I should be giving him?

Fellowhuman said...

I have to write this really quick but will write in more detail when i return. He needs more protein. The way your feeding him is great but Exact is very cheap. And egg Yolks!! Got to run. More soon! Thanks Tim

Fellowhuman said...

Megan, sorry about the rush I was headed out to see my doctor. The only thing i am worried about is lack of protein. Nothing you mentioned in the diet had protein. Lettuce is not great for birds.

Protein is key to their survival. Also, at that age, there is no way for him not to imprint to you after even just a few days unless they never see you. In a rescue center they would be kept in a box, fed with gloves on and never talked too. Sounds harsh but then when they fly they can be released. I encourage you to read some of the other comments and older articles. Its a very long commitment in keeping a Scrub Jay. They need hours of attention a day as adults. Lots of room etc.

I would consider looking for a native animal rescue center unless your really up for the challenge and think its best for the bird. Blue has been with me for 12+ years. And I have tried to give him the best life I can. At that time there was no agency here. But I have not had a vacation in... 7 years or more. Its a very big commitment.

Exact is about $2.85 cents for a packet. That will get you started. It will really help his growth.
Also, worms, bugs.

When they learn to fly it happens very quickly. Almost instantly.

There have been people here who have released birds found at your age, and had them come at night and sleep, but leave for the day. Its very hard to say if your rescue can be released. Blue was wet out of the egg. But the problem is the other scrub jays will or could reject it. And it will not have the parenting to know how to behave in the wild.

I do not mean to lecture you in anyway. I think its always best to help an animal when there is no other choice. But think hard before making the decision to keep him. Not just for him but for you too.

So think protein. He will learn to fly on his own. I used to let Blue sit on my finger and lower it up and down to get his wings flapping to help him get strong. Good luck and I wish you the best. Peace Tim

Fellowhuman said...

Megan, also it sounds like your bird is in between a baby and being able to fly. If you cant get exact, mash up some cat food. IF you going to release him in the wild. Build him a safe place to live out side he can come back to. Bring him there in between daily. This way, he has a place he can come back to if he needs it. Look at the above comments and you will see someone who did something like that. My worry is. The longer you keep him the less chance of survival if released. The carrots are great. Add some egg yolk, Dried cat food if you cannot get Exact baby formula. Keep up the good work. Tim