Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Blue Jay Babies (Cyanocitta cristata)

Barry Kent MacKay painting
(Artwork - 097)
Blue Jay Babies (Cyanocitta cristata)

This is one of the most abundant and commonly seen birds in much of North America, nesting from about central British Columbia east as far as Newfoundland and south as far as the Gulf coast and Florida, although generally absent in the far west and the U.S. southwestern quadrant. It is highly migratory, and where I live, in southern Ontario, it is not unusual to see flocks in the fall that may contain hundreds of birds. I once estimated a flock to contain about five thousand. However, a percentage also winter this far north, and during the winter, especially, they are attracted to bird feeders. They love peanuts and can hold them with one foot and adroitly peck open the shell to get to the nourishing parts inside. They do the same with sunflower seeds. They have a raucous, distinctive call often heard as background in movies filmed out of doors in eastern North America. They occur anywhere there are woodlots, well-treed parks and gardens, and especially where there are mixed woods with beech, oaks, maples, and evergreens.

There are four recognized subspecies, and I have shown C. c. bromia, the one that occurs throughout the northeastern U.S. and across southern Canada from Manitoba to the east coast.

They are noisy most of the time, but very quiet around the nest, which is how I have found nests. The nest, itself, is bulky and made of twigs and other materials with a soft lining. They sometimes make a decoy nest nearby, to fool predators. The young somewhat resemble the adults, but are grayer, with thinner black markings on wings and tails. Years ago I did a study of the fledglings, at about the age when they are thinking of leaving the nest, and it is attached as well.

Blue Jays are conspicuous, will mob owls, crows, hawks and herons and other real or imagined predators. They are omnivorous, eating both seeds and vegetable matter and insects, small animals, the eggs of other birds, carrion, and just about anything that is edible. They are in the same family as the crows and ravens, a group of birds, collectively called Corvids, known for its intelligence.

Both paintings are what I call “vignettes”, meaning floating images against a white or monotone background. These were done on white paper in watercolour, with some colour pencil added. Both were done approximately life size.

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Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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