Bird Watcher's General Store

Cape Cod Bird Call - 04/19/02

Dear Bird Folks,

Last summer my neighbors and I witnessed a blue jay that yelled "Cape Caaahhd, Cape Caaahhd!" No kidding. Is this a legitimate call?

- Stumped in Eastham

Yo Stumpy,

Thanks for proving my point that Brian's question wasn't that weird, at least not compared to this one. You and your neighbors heard a jay that said "Cape Caaahhd" eh? Man, I'm sorry I missed that party. Did you hear any robins talk like Jimmy Cagney?

Jays have many calls, plus they are minmics. They have the ability to hear a call and imitate it. It strikes us odd when a bird call actually sounds like a phrase that has meaning to us. A bird like a blue jay has an endless variety of calls so it is bound to say something that sounds like words to us sooner or later. The bird you heard say "Cape Caaahhd" probably was combining a call from some other bird, perhaps a crow, with a call of its own. Either that or your blue jay was from Long Island.

Artwork by Catherine Clark

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