Training A Blue Jay


I used to be in charge of the pigs training, but since I was moved as an inside keeper I became Jaybird’s trainer.  It is Jaybird’s job to be an education animal, you may have read in earlier posts that s/he had on alymaries and jesses. Well… those did not work out too well, it seems that s/he does not like those on at all and we kept finding them in pieces. We finally gave up and decided that Jaybird can be seen in a carrier on programs with less of a chance for flying away.

Jaybird is a quirky corvid. S/he always tries to be one step ahead of me and get away with less than desirable behaviors. This always poses a challenge to be one more step ahead of the bird. Sometimes, Jaybird will store food in his gullet. So when I have food and want to train s/he will spit the peanut back up and play with it and pay no attention to the food I have in my hand. When this happens I usually just walk away and forget about the session because of the lack of cooperation.

Sometimes when s/he is really in a mood, the bird decides to do want it wants and flies to the top of the playpen. When this happens, its almost impossible or very time consuming process to retrieve the bird. You cant get on a ladder because the bird then goes to the very back where you cant reach! I have found a solution to this problem though,popcorn. Popcorn is the “jackpot” treat for Jaybird. I can show a piece and he comes flying down to my hand. I have no idea why he loves this food item the most. I use other things that will work sometimes such as cheerios, peanut butter, peanuts,cheese,pinkies and insects.

4 responses to Training A Blue Jay

  1. DJ says:

    What is a pinkie (last sentence) ? And would Jaybird like mealyworms or any other possible treats that you can think of that could be donated??

  2. jill says:

    Pinkies are newly born mice that have no hair and their eyes are still closed. Many of the animals such as the opossum and even baby snakes consume these pinkies. Jay would love donations! A package of frozen peas,a tub of wax worms from the pet store or even a package of plain un-popped popcorn kernels for our air popper(the pigs would enjoy this too).

  3. Scott weaver says:

    Sorry if I missed this, but do we not know the sex of Jaybird? “… S/he always tries…”

  4. jill says:

    Scott, not really. If you look at this kind of bird its hard to tell because male and female look similar.
    I was talking to someone about looking more closely in the spring at the cloaca area (where everything happens) we might be able to see a difference

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