Steller's Jay - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Steller's Jay - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Steller's Jay - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Steller's Jay - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Steller's Jay
Cyanocitta stelleri

Jays and Crows
Corvid Family (Corvidae)

Size: Length: 33 cm Wingspan: None

Description: The raucous call of the Steller's jay usually announces its presence even before it is spotted. Look for a medium sized bird, with a dark crested head and a bright blue body. Upon closer inspection, Steller's jays have A dark gray head, crest, throat, breast and back. On the face, there is usually a light eyebrow line, along with light patches on the throat and forehead. The gray on the breast and back gives way to brilliant blue colour. The Wings and tail are deeper blue, with the feathers showing darker edges. The tail is almost as long as the body. The feet are black.

Similar Species: In the Rocky Mountains, there are 4 blue coloured jays. Of these, only two have crests, the blue jay and the Steller's. The blue jay is very different in appearance. While it shares a crest, it has a face which is predominantly white with the exception of a blue crest and black line separating the bottom of the cheek. Only the Steller's jay has a dark gray (almost black) head and crest.

Range: Steller's jays are strictly a western bird, breeding from the foothills of Alberta, west to the coast. They are regularly spotted in the Canadian and American Rockies, generally from the Main Ranges westward.

Habitat: Like most jays, they seem to prefer coniferous and mixed-wood forests.

Diet: They eat a varied diet of insects, eggs, nestlings, small mammals, as well as seeds. They are quick to appear at bird feeders in and are fond of sunflower seeds.

Nesting: They look for a well concealed spot on the branch of a coniferous (often spruce) tree. Rarely, they will build their nest in a natural cavity or woodpecker hole. The nests are usually between 2.5 and 5 metres high (8 and 16 ft). The nest is a thick-walled cup, usually with leaves at the base and lined with mud. There is an inner lining made of grasses, rootlets, pine needles and hair. The female lays between 2 and 3 (up to 6) olive-brown eggs (speckled with darker brown). The altricial and naked nestlings arrive after 16 days and are tended by both parents. They will remain with their parents for approximately one month after fledging.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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