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Catesby Volume I: The Blew Jay

Mark Catesby's
Description of The Blew Jay

PICA glandaria, caerulea, cristata

The Blew Jay is full as big, or bigger than a Starling: the bill black; above the basis of the upper mandible are black Feathers, which run in a narrow stripe cross the Eyes, meeting a broad black stripe, which encompasses the head and throat. It's crown-feathers are long, which it erects at pleasure: the back is of a dusky purple: the interior vanes of the larger quill-feathers black; the exterior blue, with transverse black lines cross every feather, and their ends tipt with white. The tail is blue, marked with the like crosslines as on the Wings. They have the like jetting motion with our Jay; their cry is more tuneful.

The Hen is not so bright in colour, except which, there appears no difference.

Smilax lavis, Lauri folio, baccis nigris

The Bay-Leaved Smilax

This Plant is usually found in moist places: it sends forth from its root many green stems, the branches of which overspread whatsoever stands near it, to a very considerable distance; and it frequently climbs above sixteen foot in height, growing so very thick, that in Summer it makes an impenetrable shade, and in Winter a warm shelter for cattle. The leaves are of the colour and consistence of Laurel, but in shape more like the bay, without any visible veins, the middle rib only excepted.

The Flowers are small and whitish; the Fruit grows in round clusters, and is a black berry, containing one single hard Seed, which is ripe in October, and is food for some sorts of Birds, particularly this Jay.