The Steller's Jay is a very pretty bird that doesn't seem to be particularly shy of people. Although it is lovely to look at, it has very harsh, noisy vocalizations.
It is the provincial bird of British Columbia, Canada.
This bird is a member of the Jays and Crows family. Just as the Blue Jay is common on the East Coast of North America, it is common on the West Coast, from Alaska and the Yukon in the north to Arizona and New Mexico in the South.
Measuring 12 to 13 1/2 inches in length. The crest, back, and breast are blackish. The belly, wings and tail are deep blue. Most have white streaks on the forehead and chin though there are some subspecies that do not. Females look the same, but slightly smaller.
This birds call is a loud Shaack! Shaack! Shaack! May also mimic the screams of hawks.
The Steller's jay feeds on insects, other birds' eggs and nestlings, nuts, seeds, acorns and berries.
They are also frequent visitors of campground picnic tables, bird feeders and yard and gardens.
Jays hoard food like acorns, seeds and nuts in caches around it's territory for occasions when it can't find fresh food.
This species of bird can be found in campgrounds, picnic areas and towns making it a fairly easy bird for an amateur bird watcher to spot.
It also spends time in coniferous and mixed forests.
They mainly nest in conifer trees, using the needles of the tree to line their nest. The nest is built of sticks, twigs and mud. However, they have adapted to urban life by occasionally nesting under the roof of a building.
The female typically lays a clutch of 3 to 4 eggs (though it can be anywhere from 2 to 6 eggs) which she incubates for about 16 days.
The eggs are bluish-green with dark brown markings. The male Steller feeds the female while she's incubating the eggs.
Nestlings are born featherless. Three weeks after hatching, they have the same coloring as the parents.
This species of jay lives in its territory year round. They often live in mountainous areas and will move up the mountain in the summer and back down the mountain into the valley areas in the winter.
Other jays of the West are The Western scrub jay and the Gray jay.
Western scrub jays are bold and familiar jay of the American West, this bird is common throughout much of the western lowlands, especially in areas with oaks and pinyon pines.
(Western Scrub Jay pictured.)
It has adapted well to suburbs and comes readily to bird feeders.
Similar in size to to Steller's jay, it lacks the well known crown of its more popular cousins.
Gray jays are native to much of Canada and the American northwest.