Stellar's Jay
Used with permission. © Leanne Guenther

Steller's Jay

(Genus, species:  Cyanocitta stelleri)


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.  Steller's Jays are frequently seen in the Rockie Mountains.

Stellar's Jay Location/Distribution

General:  The Steller's Jay is a member of the Jays and Crows family.  Just as the Blue Jay is common on the East Coast of North America, the Steller's Jay is common on the West Coast, from Alaska and the Yukon in the north to Arizona and New Mexico in the south.

Stellar's Jay Description
Used with permission. © Leanne Guenther

Description - male:  Charcoal colored head and nape with a large black crest on top of the head.  Most have white streaks on the forehead and chin though there are some subspecies that do not.  The body, wings and tail are a deep blue.  The bill and legs are black.  The birds are about 11 inches long.

Description - female:  same as male, though slightly smaller.

Description - young:  Nestlings are born featherless.  Three weeks after hatching, they have the same coloring as the parents.

Feeding:  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 and bird feeders.  The Steller's Jay hoards food like acorns, seeds and nuts in caches around it's territory for occasions when it can't find fresh food.

Habitat:  The Steller's Jay 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.

Stellar's Jay Habitat
Used with permission. © Leanne Guenther

Nesting:  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 feeds the female while she's incubating the eggs.

Migration:  The Steller's 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.


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[Birds of Alberta]  [Canada Geese]  [Great Horned Owl]  [Merlin]  [Northern Goshawk]  [Pine Grosbeak]  [Puffin]  [Rock Dove]  [Ruffed Grouse]  [Sharp-tailed Grouse]  [Steller's Jay]  [Wild Turkey]  [Willow Ptarmigan]