can't be set free because he doesn't speak blue jay.
"Birds have a certain window of opportunity where they learn the appropriate sounds," explains center director Carol Akerlof. Unfortunately, the people who found Blue as a chick kept "him in their home for six weeks"--and he grew up mimicking the sounds he heard there. "He lived with a cockatiel, so he makes cockatiel sounds," says Akerlof. "He makes a long moaning sound, like a microwave. He makes cell-phone sounds." For Blue, that's no joke, Akerlof explains: "It means he will never have a normal life."
The center's license allows its volunteers to rehabilitate and release wild birds, but not to keep them indefinitely. And "he can't go to a private home," Akerlof says, "because blue jays are federally protected birds, and it is illegal to keep them without a permit." So the center is requesting permits to keep Blue for educational purposes. Volunteer Dorothy Stock and her husband, Kenneth Antkowiak, are working with a falconer to teach him to perch on a human's hand.