It's hard to imagine that the boisterous Steller's Jay could possibly have a softer aspect to its blustery behavior. But it does. It's called the "whisper song." Male jays use this whisper song during courtship, and it also emanates from solitary birds for no apparent reason. Quietly, the bird extends its head slightly forward, slowly turns it from side to side, and begins . . . very softly . . . to . . . sing. Learn more about the Steller's Jay at Cornell's All About Birds.
Jay’s Whisper Song
By Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Loud squawking of a Steller’s Jay]
Do you recognize the loud, demanding call of the Steller’s Jay? Often in small family groups, these birds swoop out of a conifer, scattering the smaller birds at the feeder. Steller’s Jays have a wide array of vocalizations. Here are a few: [Variety of Steller’s Jay calls]
It’s hard to imagine that these boisterous jays could possibly have a softer aspect to their blustery behavior. But they do. Listen to this very different jay sound called the “whisper song.” [Jay “whisper”]
Male jays use this whisper song during courtship. This expression of the softer, gentler side of jays also emanates from solitary birds for no apparent reason. Imagine, for a moment, the familiar cobalt-blue jay with black crested head sitting upright. Quietly, the bird extends its head slightly forward, slowly turns it from side to side, and begins to softly sing. [More jay whisper]
BirdNote is independently produced and funded by a non-profit organization called Tune In to Nature. If you’d like to make a gift to support BirdNote, come to our website, birdnote.org. I’m Frank Corrado.
Steller’s Jay audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls recorded by W.W.H. Gunn and G.A. Keller.“Whisper Song” recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org (Rev. Nov. 2007) Feb. 2010
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