Yesterday in the late afternoon I saw a small quiet flock of 8 Blue Jays moving 
eastward into the treetops of the northeast part of Allan H Treman State Marine 
Park, a similar path to the migrating Black-capped Chickadees I reported 
recently going around the southeast end of Cayuga Lake. This morning around 
9:25am I saw a quiet flock of 32 Blue Jays flying north over the south end of 
Cass Park, also clearly migrating. They were over a field approaching a woodlot 
just above treetop level. 

Blue Jays migrate in the daytime, and they fly quietly in rather spread-out 
flocks, each bird keeping a distance of a several feet to a few yards from all 
of its neighbors. They flap constantly in what looks to me like weak flight 
aimed at conserving energy. 

An interesting place to watch migrant Blue Jay flocks is around the Braddock 
Bay banding station, where they must turn generally east in order to get around 
Lake Ontario, but in that specific area must go southeast, leading so some 
apparently confused and circuitous travel. 

Migration is made when the wind is from a helpful direction, like today and the 
day I saw the Chickadee movement, generally from the south. 

In autumn I have watched Blue Jays fly south over the east end of Stewart Park, 
presumably having been gathered and guided by Cayuga Lake’s diagonal “east” 
shore, and over downtown Ithaca as well. 

To me, it’s a thrill to see the migration phenomenon played out.

- - Dave Nutter

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