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FutureStarrAre Blue Jays Endangered?
Blue jays are one of the most common birds in North America, yet they also face numerous threats. Most of these issues stem from habitat loss, predation and human interaction.
Blue jays are omnivores that feed on seeds, nuts, fruit, insects and young birds and eggs. Their strong bills allow them to crack open large seeds with ease.
Habitat loss is a major issue for many birds, such as blue jays. It occurs due to human activities like agriculture, urbanization, deforestation, resource extraction and altering the sea-floor through trawling (fishing).
Loss of habitat can have a detrimental effect on biodiversity, as it reduces the space necessary for species to flourish. Furthermore, it could disrupt species interactions.
Climate and weather changes are one of the primary causes of habitat loss. When ecosystems are altered due to a shift in weather patterns, they no longer support as many plants and may become inhospitable for animals that live there.
Another negative impact of habitat loss on the environment is its inability to control pests and diseases. For instance, when forests are destroyed, people will have less trees in which to hide from these threats as there will be fewer places for them to thrive.
Birds that depend on certain kinds of habitats are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss. Migratory or nesting birds in shrub-like environments tend to be more at risk than those breeding in grassy areas.
Due to climate change and other environmental changes such as an increase in rainfall, it becomes harder for these habitats to adapt.
Loss of habitat can also result in an increase in predation, as it becomes easier for predators to locate food when living in smaller areas.
One way to protect your blue jays is by planting oak or beech trees in your yard! These trees are essential for blue jays as they provide them with acorns and beechnuts.
You can help protect blue jays by keeping your property free of debris. Leaving trails of litter on the ground makes it difficult for birds to navigate home, which could prove a real issue for them.
Blue jays are a widely distributed species, living in forests, farm woodlots and suburbs alike. They feed on an assortment of fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, insects, young birds and eggs with ease.
Blue jay nests are typically situated in dense conifers or shrubs, 5-50 feet above the ground. The structure is constructed out of twigs, bark, mosses and leaves with a central cup lined with rootlets for protection.
In the springtime, females and males engage in courtship displays by bobbing their bodies up and down and making toolool calls. Aggressive behaviour often scares away competitors, allowing one male to become the chosen partner of a female.
Like other songbirds, blue jays must defend their nests from chipmunks, squirrels, crows, owls and snakes for food. Additionally, they may raid other bird's nests for eggs and chicks to survive.
Jays consume a variety of foods, such as fruit, nuts, berries, corn, grains and insects. They also eat eggs and young birds as well as carrion.
Omnivores, they possess powerful bills capable of cracking nuts. As such, they play an essential role in forest ecosystems by spreading seeds that will eventually grow into trees.
The blue jay is a common bird across much of its range, though numbers are declining in some regions - particularly on the continental scale.
One of the primary threats to blue jays is predation by hawks and owls, who typically kill 80 per cent of them. This is primarily due to their roosting habits which appeal to these predators.
Jays provide antipredator calls in order to protect themselves from predators that might harm them. These signals convey information about the potential risk posed by each predator to both themselves and family members.
Jays use their calling rate and sound different calls to alert different predators of their presence, while increasing it when in a family group setting (Griesser & Ekman 2004, 2005; Griesser 2008). To effectively communicate information to their predators, jays alter their calling rate accordingly (Griesser & Ekman 2004, 2005; Griesser 2008).
Wildlife experts have been receiving reports across the country about an unknown illness affecting blue jays and other birds. Sick birds exhibit symptoms such as crusty eyes, swollen faces, neurological problems that make them appear blind or paralyzed.
News reports describe symptoms among blue jays, common grackles and European starlings; eye-related signs like crusty eyes or swollen faces; neurological indications like tremors and loss of balance; as well as an inability to fly or remain aloft.
Wildlife officials across multiple states, particularly Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, have reported sick or deceased blue jays that exhibit similar symptoms. Furthermore, wildlife officials in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana have also observed these same sick or dead birds.
Scientists are still in the early stages of diagnosing the illness that is causing these birds to succumb. However, they believe it could be related to Mycoplasma gallisepticum bacteria, known for causing mycoplasma conjunctivitis in house finches.
Birds suffering from this disease usually exhibit red, swollen or crusted eyes. Eventually they may become dehydrated and succumb to starvation, exposure or predation.
Researchers are trying to identify what else may be causing the illness, which can be highly contagious if left untreated. While they've investigated West Nile virus and other diseases as possible causes, researchers have yet to detect any evidence of them in blue jays that have become sick or died from this mysterious condition.
Jennifer Kearns, director of the National Wildlife Health Center, notes that while this new mystery illness isn't quite as widespread as the initial West Nile virus outbreak, it still appears to be impacting more animals. "This marks a change from past years when these novel illnesses only appeared once or twice every decade," she observes.
State wildlife agencies have taken proactive measures to safeguard birds affected by this illness, such as creating online reporting portals and issuing alerts on what to do if you spot a sick or dying bird. These reports enable experts to trace back the source of these illnesses - something which is vitally important.
The blue jay is an increasingly common bird in residential areas of cities. Its range extends from the eastern United States to Canada.
Blue jays are opportunistic feeders and will work hard to gather their food, often inhabiting areas with abundant nuts, seeds, fruits and berries. They possess a fierce territorial streak as well; if they feel another bird may threaten their nest or food supply they will often attack it.
However, they can become friendly towards humans when they feel secure around them and form a bond with you. This could occur if you provide them with a home in your yard, or set up a bird feeder so they have somewhere to eat.
Jays are opportunistic eaters and will take advantage of any feeding opportunity that arises. They typically feed from bird feeders, but can also eat insects and table scraps.
They have been known to consume the eggs of other birds, though this behavior is rare. Most often monogamous and selecting lifelong partners for breeding purposes.
Their natural diet consists primarily of seeds and nuts, though they will also eat insects, fruit, vegetables, and grains. Furthermore, they have been known to consume the eggs and hatchlings of other birds.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of blue jays is their ability to transport nuts between sites in their habitat. For instance, they have been known to bring beechnuts from forests patches into bogs - an increasingly common occurrence as climate change disrupts native forest cover.
In the future, this role could become even more critical. With the increasing extinction of native chestnut trees, birds will need to transport and distribute more nuts across their native habitats as climate change causes forest loss.
Blue jays make for an intriguing addition to any garden, their loud and cheerful cries a joy in the springtime. Blue jays tend to be highly social creatures that would make great pets if introduced early in their lives to a human companion.
The Philadelphia Phillies have won 87 games this season and are one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the final wild card spot in the National League. A three-game sweep against Milwaukee may be enough to secure them this coveted postseason spot.
They boast an impressive pitching staff that features Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola as a 1-2 starter duo. Additionally, the lineup boasts two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper as well as NL home run champion Kyle Schwarber.
The Philadelphia Phillies boast an impressive pitching staff for the upcoming season. Led by Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez in their starting rotation, this team should have no trouble making the playoffs. Furthermore, their bullpen is composed of Seranthony Dominguez, Andrew Bellatti and Jose Alvarado; all capable of providing quality innings.
They have some exceptional young players that could help them win a championship in 2023. The first two signed this offseason were Trea Turner and Walker, both of whom should make an impact this season. Furthermore, they added two future major league stars in Gregory Soto and Koby Clemens; hopefully both become stars to watch in 2023.
Philadelphia Phillies must find ways to boost their offense if they hope to make the playoffs. While their lineup is strong, they need to score more runs than other teams in order to advance in the league.
The National League East is a difficult division to play in, but the Philadelphia Phillies possess all of the tools needed to make an impressive run for the division title this year. They boast an impressive starting rotation, good offense and reliable bullpen support.
Their starters are Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, both of whom were Cy Young candidates this season. While these two will start most games for the Philadelphia Phillies, there are other players that can step up and help lead them to a World Series victory.
A strong rotation is essential for any successful team, and the Philadelphia Phillies boast one of the best in baseball. Led by Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez and Walker - a young southpaw with great potential - their pitching staff boasts some formidable talent.
Nathan Eovaldi is another key component of the Philadelphia phillies starting rotation, who has been one of the league's most dominant pitchers over recent seasons. He would make an ideal fifth starter and his ability to win on the road during postseason play would give this group all of the tools necessary to become World Series champions.
Philadelphia Phillies fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this season. They boast an impressive pitching rotation and an explosive lineup. While it will take a tremendous amount of effort, if they can stay ahead of their opponents in the final two weeks of the regular season, it could be enough for them to reach the playoffs.
Their ideal batting order boasts plenty of power, with players capable of hitting at various positions. Trea Turner leads off as a reliable leadoff hitter, while second cleanup hitter Sam Dyson can be just as productive.
Trea Turner boasts an impressive offensive arsenal and is one of the fastest players in football. He will make a great addition to Philadelphia's lineup this year.
Bryce Harper is another player that will be an invaluable addition to this team this season. After winning an MVP season last year, he's the centerpiece of their offense and one of the league's top hitters; making him an invaluable part of their lineup in 2023.
Schwarber boasts impressive power and is the best leadoff hitter in the National League. He leads the NL in home runs, making him an invaluable addition to their lineup this season.
Nick Castellanos is another new addition to the team and an accomplished hitter. He recently returned from a productive season with the Cincinnati Reds, where he hit 34 home runs for a career-high OPS.
They feature a pair of solid hitters in the middle of their lineup: Darick Hall (who has played over 600 games in his career) and Rhys Hoskins, coming off an excellent season in 2022.
He is an incredibly powerful hitter, though his BABIP this year has been lower than usual; therefore, his chances for hitting.260 this year should be much better than they were in 2022.
This year, the NL East promises to be a fiercely competitive division and the Philadelphia Phillies are ready to take on their rivals. Boasting an impressive pitching staff and stellar lineup, they hope to win more games than they did last season. In order to stay ahead of Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets this season, Philadelphia must first survive these obstacles.
As the Philadelphia Phillies enter the final week of the regular season, they remain in a good position to make the playoffs. Although they are one game behind the second wild-card spot in the National League, they hold the tiebreaker over San Diego Padres and could clinch a playoff spot Friday if they win their series opener with Cubs and sweep Nationals.
The Phils have many positives going for them right now, but one area where they need to improve is their bullpen. Despite Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler's stellar play, their relievers have struggled to finish games.
To address this, the Phils need to add more quality arms to their bullpen. This includes a left-handed relief pitcher who can pitch in tight late inning situations.
Ideally, they would part ways with Mark Bastardo and bring in another left-handed reliever. If the Phils can find such a player, it could be a huge boost for their team next year and lay the foundation for success going forward.
They must make some additions in the minors, potentially looking at players such as Scott Kingery, Will Toffey and others.
Additionally, they could look to free agents who could fill in any gaps when the team needs one. Some of these free agent relievers could potentially provide some added depth and stability to the bullpen in 2023.
The Phils could consider adding a veteran reliever to their bullpen during the offseason. A left-handed veteran reliever would give them an experienced option in late inning situations and help them maintain consistency throughout the season.
If the Phils add a left-handed reliever, it could be indicative of their progress toward finding an elite right-handed relief pitcher for their bullpen. To complement Jake Diekman, Joe Savery and potentially Mark Bastardo next season, the Phils need a reliable relief option to provide back up.
The Phils possess a formidable bullpen, which could be instrumental to their playoff success. If they can strengthen it this offseason, they'll be better equipped to take on the top teams in the National League and potentially win a World Series.
For the first time since 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies are in playoff contention. After an early-season losing streak, interim manager Rob Thomson has guided them to success with six of their last eight victories and created strong chemistry within their clubhouse.
He is making a strong case to have the interim label taken off his job title and is winning over the support of his players. Bryce Harper donned an "I ride with Philly Rob" t-shirt in August, while veteran pitcher Kyle Gibson spoke highly of Thomson, whom he described as the "best manager I've ever had."
Philadelphia Phillies hold a two-game lead over Milwaukee Brewers for the third National League wild card spot, and can still make it all the way to the World Series with one more win. But they have an uphill battle ahead of them to guarantee their place in postseason play.
They must get back on track against the St. Louis Cardinals, an NL West opponent with an impressive home record and formidable bullpen. The Cardinals have allowed fewer than five runs in seven of their nine games against Philadelphia this year and boast the best home winning percentage in the NL.
Furthermore, they need to improve at hitting in crunch time. Last month, their batting average and slugging percentage with runners in scoring position were among the best in baseball - however that has changed this month.
The Philadelphia Phillies will play 10 of their final 15 games on the road. They begin the stretch run with a series in Chicago before traveling to Washington for four-games before concluding the season with three-game set in Houston.
This year, the Philadelphia Phillies have a lot riding on and need all their players to give it their all in order to secure a playoff spot. They boast an excellent pitching staff and strong lineup, but they need some of its leaders to step up and deliver.
The Philadelphia Phillies are the longest-running franchise of its name in American professional sports history. Despite this longevity, they have never won a championship.
They have a long-standing record of poor management and player development. Furthermore, they have lost more games than any other team in American professional sports history.
Hoskins has made a major impact in the Phillies' lineup this season, adding some much-needed power to their bats. He's one of baseball's most exciting players and his home runs have been instrumental to their success this season.
Hoskins was born and raised in Sacramento, attending Jesuit High School before transferring to California State University, Sacramento to play college baseball. According to former collegiate coach Bob Law, Hoskins always displayed qualities that would prepare him for success in the big leagues, such as calmness under pressure.
Hoskins was a fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 and has quickly made himself a fixture on their roster. He's mostly played first base for them, but he also stands as an impressive left fielder who has hit numerous home runs throughout his major league career.
His performance during the playoffs has been particularly impressive. In six postseason games, he has three home runs and seven RBI, cementing himself as an integral part of Philadelphia's postseason success thus far.
He is arbitration eligible for the final time this year, so it's possible the Phillies will attempt to lock him up before he hits free agency in 2023. A deal could pay him more than $12 million, which would be an excellent sum in this weak free-agent class for a first baseman.
Aaron Altherr is an athletic, talented outfielder who spent most of his professional career in the minors. He was selected in the ninth round of 2009 and made his major league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies two years later in 2014.
Altherr had his share of setbacks in the majors and has been plagued with injuries, yet he remained an intriguing long-term option as an outfielder. As a rookie, his 124 wRC+ showed that he had what it took to make the big league team; even with 161 plate appearances.
He had to endure extensive wrist surgery in 2016 and missed the entire season, but was finally healthy again last year and began hitting for power again. Though he had an impressive spring, it is unlikely he will make the big league roster as a regular.
After a brief stint in the majors, he returned to KBO with NC Dinos in 2020 and hit 31 home runs while also stealing 22 bases. Now, he hopes to make another appearance on an MLB roster.
He may be a risky choice for a major-league club, but if Altherr can stay healthy and make progress with his swing, he'll be an invaluable addition to any team needing an upgrade at outfield. His power hitting ability and propensity for multi-baggers make him an irresistible option for organizations looking for an edge in this department.
Odubel Herrera, a veteran of seven major league seasons, is an impressive contact hitter with plenty of power. His walk-to-strike ratio is impressive but his strikeouts could be improved.
As a former All-Star, Herrera enjoyed an exceptional year with the Phillies in 2016. However, manager Pete Mackanin benched him several times due to lack of hustle and his tendency to ignore signals from coaches during baserunning attempts.
Herrera, selected by the Phillies in the 2014 Rule 5 draft, has spent most of his career playing second base. But he has shown the ability to switch over to center field and could soon find himself back in the starting lineup.
In 197 plate appearances this season, Herrera has hit a.238/.279/.378 line - still not enough to qualify him as a major-league star. Furthermore, his 5.6% rate of stolen bases this year puts him further behind other base stealers in the Majors.
As such, the Phillies designated him for assignment during their trade deadline roster shuffling earlier this week. Now he can sign with another organization and see what opportunities await him. This move makes sense given his struggles this year and that he still owes around $2MM on his contract; any new team would need to cover both amounts plus prorated MLB minimum salary.
The Philadelphia Phillies are a professional baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that competes in the National League (NL). With eight NL pennants and two World Series titles (1980 and 2008), they are one of the oldest continuously run single-name franchises in American professional sports history.
In 1915, Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched them into the playoffs. Unfortunately, for much of their history, the Phillies would experience prolonged failure; finishing last or second to last in 24 out of 30 seasons from 1919 to 1947.
After a brief revival in the 1960s, Philadelphia endured another prolonged dry spell from 1970 to 1982. Five of those years saw them miss qualifying for playoffs and finish well out of contention in four others. Fortunately, things began to turn around again in 1972 when future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton joined forces and helped propel them to six NL East Division titles between 1976 and 1983.
Philadelphia had a talented core of players during this period, but were often outmatched by rivals in the NL East and never made it past the first round until 2008. On Joe Carter's dramatic home run in game six against Toronto Blue Jays, however, they ultimately fell short and missed out on making the playoffs until 2008.
Roman Quinn is one of Philadelphia Phillies' most athletic players. He's a speedster and an excellent base runner, giving him plenty of opportunities to contribute this season if he stays healthy.
He is 29 years old and was born on May 14, 1993. He plays center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Quinn was a second-round pick in the 2011 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and he quickly earned himself a reputation as an impressive prospect. Baseball America rated him as their 5th best prospect at that time.
Unfortunately, injuries have plagued him throughout his career. He's missed significant time due to a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2013, as well as a sprained right wrist and torn hip flexor.
This injury marked the beginning of his downhill slide, with only 77 games played over the next two seasons. Resigned to being a bench player, he never managed to hit for an impressive average.
In 2018, he played for Lehigh Valley but was placed on the disabled list after suffering an injury during training.
After recovering from his injury, he was assigned to the Tampa Bay Rays and made 21 appearances for them, hitting.262 with 21 strikeouts in 42 at-bats.
The former Phillies center fielder will try to make an impression with the Cleveland Guardians this spring. While he is not guaranteed a spot on the roster, he should be invited to big-league spring training and could earn himself a place on their Opening Day roster.
Scott Kingery was a highly coveted prospect within the Phillies organization when he signed to a six-year, $24 million contract on the eve of his rookie season. A natural second baseman, Kingery had the potential to be an all-around player with great utility skillsets.
Kingery had difficulty making an impact as a rookie in the majors, hitting only.226/.267/.339 with eight home runs while being blocked by second baseman Cesar Hernandez for the starting job.
He made a comeback in 2019 and quickly established himself as an important major leaguer, hitting.258/.315/.474 with 19 homers and 55 RBI while playing multiple positions throughout the year.
Unfortunately, Kingery's struggles in 2020 and 2022 were caused by the lingering effects of COVID-19 virus, which left him with injuries that kept him off the field for an extended period. Fortunately, he underwent surgery last summer - which proved beneficial.
Kingery has spent the past year honing his swing with Phillies staff and hitting coach Kevin Long. He believes he has found the right swing path to make a successful transition back to the majors and hopes to be part of their Opening Day roster. If he continues making progress, Kingery could serve as an excellent backup option for manager Rob Thomson should things go as planned.