Stellar's Jay
Description  12 - 13 1/2"  North America's
largest Jay, the Steller's Jay is also known as the
the bird is the black crest which it raises and lowers
at all times in a more or less excitable manner.

Front half of bird sooty black, rear dark blue-gray,
with tight black crossbarring on secondaries and
tail. Lightly streaked eyebrow, chin, and forehead
markings vary considerably. The inland form has a
small white patch over the eye.

Habitat  Found high on the mountain slopes of
the west, this bird lives its life much like its eastern
relative, the Blue Jay. Coniferous forests, pine and
oak woods, small groves, and  stands of mixed oak
and redwood.

Diet   These birds feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, and
insects.

Nesting  Nesting generally begins in early May,
but can begin as early as March in many areas.  
Steller's Jays form monogamous, long-term pair
bonds. They remain together year round.

3-5 pale green eggs with brownish spots in a neat
twiggy bowl lined with small roots and fibers, well
hidden in a shady conifer. Located 8 to 16 feet
above ground, on a branch or in a crotch of a conifer.

The female only incubates the eggs about 16 days,
Near its nest site, the Stellar Jay is silent and shy.
but both members of the pair feed the young and
continue to provide some food for the fledglings for
about a month after they fledge.  

Range  Largely resident from coastal southern
Alaska east to Rocky Mountains and southward into
Central America.

Voice   A harsh shack-shack-shack-shack or
chook-chook-chook call reveals its presence. May
also mimic the screams of hawks.

Discussion  Somewhat more reticent than the
Gray Jay, Steller's nevertheless quickly becomes
accustomed to campsites and human providers. It
is often seen sitting quietly in treetops, surveying the
surroundings.  

Regarding  migration, Steller's Jays are generally
considered resident, but some migration does
occur in the fall and spring. A number of birds
wander into higher altitudes in the fall, and in winter,
higher-elevation birds often move down-slope.
I watched this chick looking and listening for it's
mother for thirty minutes in this spot.

He eventually flew into the trees, as she coaxed
him with her calls.
Summer 2006  I hung a basket on a tree to feed peanuts to the squirrels and it wasn't long before the Jays discovered it.  
July 2004
July 2004
June 2006
June 2006
May 2009
October 2007
July 2009
July 2009  This juvenile is unable to fly long distances due an injured or malformed wing.  He can make
short flights amongst the lows branches.  I've been making sure to drop peanuts on the ground to make
his foraging for food a bit easier.  He loves the water bowl and on warm days can be spotted enjoying a
very thorough birdbath.
July 2009