Steller's Jay

photo by Reago & McClarren CC BY

Steller's Jay are frequent scavengers in picnic areas and campgrounds in the northwest forests and central mountains from Alaska to Arizona and New Mexico. These noisy, social birds (12-13.5 in long) have a charcoal head and a blue body, wings, and tail. The tail is long, and they have a large triangular crest on top of their head.

Steller's Jay live in flocks except when nesting. They can be seen hopping on the ground or on tree branches, stopping frequently to cock their heads and look around them. They eat pine seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and occasionally spiders, small rodents, or lizards.

Could it be? Blue Jay are bright blue all over, including their head. Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, and Mexican Jay don't have a crested black head.

Did you know? Steller's Jay are well known for mobbing predators - aggressively harassing, dive-bombing, even defecating on intruders, especially when protecting their young.

See Also: Blue Jay, Canada Jay