I am a lucky guy. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and in my backyard, it’s very easy to meet up with a Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri).
There are jays in every corner of the USA. But each region has their own jay. In the midwest and east, it’s the blue jay. In the southwest it’s the Mexican jay. In my part of the country it’s the Steller’s jay.
While often confused by amateurs as a “blue jay” because of its feathers are primarily blue, the black stripes on its crest differentiates the Steller’s jay is different. It does share two other traits with blue jays. Steller’s jays and blue jays are the only North American jays with crests. And both jays are the only new world jays that use mud to build their nests.
The Steller’s jay is certainly stellar – but the name and the bird are spelled differently. The bird was named after the famous naturalist and explorer Georg Steller. Uf that name is familiar it may be because Mr. Steller also discovered the Steller’s sea lion and Steller’s Sea-Eagle.
Some people think of jays as nuisance birds. They are aggressive and loud and Steller’s jays have been known to attack and kill smaller birds like dark-eyed juncos.
Steller’s jays also have a bad reputation because they are always stealing nests from other species. They are also vocal chameleons since they can vocally imitate other birds, even squirrels, cats, dogs and mechanical objects.
While common to some and a bother to others, the Steller’s jay is one of my favorite birds of all time. They are handsome and brave and love the peanuts and suet I put in my feeder.
In next week’s episode, I’ll talk about a bird-related thrill of a lifetime.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Avian Beauty. Thanks for listening. Be sure to visit avianbeauty.com for more bird inspiration and information and please consider subscribing (for free) to our blog and podcast. I’m Scott Bourne. Happy birding.
Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary, a professional bird/wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He is a pioneer in digital photography and was named one of the “30 most influential photographers on the Web” by Huffington Post. His photographic experience spans four decades and his bird/wildlife images have been published in more than 200 magazines and periodicals. He is also a Signed Master at Studio of Masters in China.
Scott has been a founder, co-founder, advisor or early stage investor in several technology companies such as NetRadio, Photofocus, and ViewBug.