2018 50¢ Birds in Winter: Blue Jay
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 22, 2018
First Day City: Quechee, VT
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
A backyard birdfeeder has many visitors. One of the most commonly seen is the beautiful and boisterous blue jay. The bird is easily recognized by its bright blue plumage covering most of its body. The only parts which are not blue are the face and breast – which are white – and the bill, legs, and beak – which are black.
The striking blue color of these birds is caused by light interference from small air bubbles in the feathers. When light hits the bubbles, blue light reflects back to the observer. The rest of the colors in the visible light spectrum are absorbed, so the only color seen is blue. If a blue jay's feather is crushed, the blue disappears due to the cellular structure being ruined.
Although blue jays are beautiful, their bold and aggressive behavior can sometimes earn them a bad reputation. Some people even thing they plunder other birds' nests in search of food. This rumor was proven false after a study showed it is very uncommon for blue jays to attack other birds' nests. They are much more likely to feed on seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and caterpillars. Blue jays are very intelligent and, when given the option, will take a free lunch at a birdfeeder whenever possible.
Despite the rumors and loud calls of the blue jay, it is one of the most popular birds in America. And, for those with backyard birdfeeders, blue jays are one of the crowning jewels of all species.