Blue jays are one of the most vividly coloured and beautiful birds in North America. Their vibrant blue feathers contrast dramatically with their white and black markings. Loud and bold in their vocalizations, they often outnumber other birds at the back yard feeders and they are often the easiest ones to hear. They love seeds and nuts and they are easily attracted for all who wish to enjoy their beauty and their antics. Blue jays also love water baths and a small pond or bird bath will keep them delighted as well. Like other birds, this blue jay is bathing to help maintain a preferable amount of oil on his feathers. It will also help discourage mites and other parasites of the skin. It is also believed that some birds simply like the sensation of cool water under their feathers. When frightened or excited, the blue jay raises its crest feathers, much like cockatiels. Blue jays are often watched by other birds to detect a threat. The blue jays are confident and early to the feeder or any other source of food. They are usually accompanied by others of their kind and they are sure to sound an alarm if all is not as it should be. More cautious and intelligent birds like crows will follow blue jays and let them test out a source of food before they take a chance themselves. Because it is a slow flier, blue jays are easy prey for hawks and other predatory birds. They are easily plucked from the air when they venture out in the open, and occasionally, a hawk or owl will watch the back yard feeders for a meal of their own. Blue jays have a specific vocal call for such dangers and birds of other species can learn to recognize and react to these calls. In great enough numbers, blue jays will even chase hawks or owls from their territory, screaming at them as they do so. The blue color of a blue jay is more complex than people might realize. The feathers are not perceived as blue due to pigment, but rather due to structure and the ability to reflect light on the wavelength that corresponds with the blue color. If the structure of the feather is damaged, the blue color will no longer be visible. Blue jays are intelligent birds and are capable of mimicking human speech as well as the calls of other birds. Their skill at communication between other members of their own species makes them much more able to deal with predators.