Blue Bird ~ Steller's Jay
There are a pair of Steller's Jays in our neighborhood this summer. They have been fun to watch. Wow they make a lot of noise!
Often mistakenly called the blue jay, Steller’s jay has a dark crest on its head which it can puff up or fold back along its head. Larger than a robin, Steller's jay can be distinguished from its close cousin by its solid black head and neck and iridescent blue back and body; the only white it has are tiny white eyebrows.
The Steller's jay lives only on the west side of and in the Rocky Mountains, while the blue jay lives only on the eastern side.
Steller's jay lives in conifer and pine-oak forests where food is available most of the year. It feeds on nuts, acorns, seeds, insects, berries, eggs and young chicks; it also scavenges fat (suet) and meat from animal carcasses. It often hides excess food in the soil, under branches, or in cracks in trees, to eat later when food is scarce (usually in the winter).
Steller’s jay builds a nest of mostly conifer twigs in a dense conifer tree (such as a cedar) at least four meters (12 feet) above the ground. The nest is placed on a horizontal branch or in a crotch and is lined with conifer rootlets. Usually three to four pale green eggs with spots are laid.
The call of the adult Steller’s jay is a cheeky "shack, shack, shack" usually repeated in groups of three; the call is often recognized by other birds and mammals in the area as a warning, as the jay tends to act as a watch dog, sounding an alarm.