Sunday, October 23, 2016

Steller’s Jay

We saw many Steller’s Jays during our Olympia visit. These photos were taken over several days in September. This species is usually found in coniferous forests, but is also to be expected in tree-filled urban areas. (Coincidently, I posted an account of this jay just before we embarked on our trip.)
Steller’s Jays are closely related to the Blue Jays of eastern North America. They share the same genus. The two species are known to hybridize where their ranges overlap. Hybrids are intermediate between Blue and Steller’s jays. One hybrid between a Steller’s Jay and a California Jay is reported (Walker et al 2016).
Talk about a Bad Hair Day. The wind blew this jay’s crest way out of kilter—especially when the bird turned its head. We found one Steller’s Jay feeding on sunflowers. Judging by the yellow at the corner of the gape, this bird is probably an immature.
Steller’s Jays take a wide variety of food items. These jays eat many plants and animals, including arthropods, nuts, seeds, berries and fruits. They consume small vertebrates, even other birds’ nestlings. They often visit bird feeders or clean up the left-overs after human picnics (Walker et al 2016).

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