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Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

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Landscaping for Wildlife II - Interview with Russell Link

Russell Link of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife tells how to go about planting to attract birds. He suggests that you take a walk in your neighborhood to see what plants do well. Concentrate on providing structure in the landscape, from ground covers to shrubs to mid-sized trees to... read more »

Topics & Themes:  gardening

Another BirdNote Quiz

This quiz features - an American Robin ...- an Olive-sided Flycatcher, like this one ... - a Red-tailed Hawk ...- a Steller's Jay, which you're most likely to hear west of the Rockies ... - and a Blue Jay, usually seen east of the Rockies. read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Steller's Birds

In July, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set foot on land later known as Alaska, the first European to do so. Steller was a German naturalist on the St. Peter, a Russian ship exploring the Bering Sea. He was shipwrecked on Bering Island for over a year, and later wrote a book about the creatures that... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history

Jay's Whisper Song

It's hard to imagine that the boisterous Steller's Jay could possibly have a softer aspect to its blustery behavior. But it does. It's called the "whisper song." Male jays use this whisper song during courtship, and it also emanates from solitary birds for no apparent reason. Quietly, the bird... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

How the Steller's Jay Got Its Crest

The Makahs tell a story about how the bird we know as the Steller's Jay - the bird the Makahs call Kwish-kwishee - got its crest. The mink, Kwahtie, tried to shoot his mother, the jay, with an arrow but missed. Her crest is ruffled to this day. read more »

Topics & Themes:  myth

Which Jay Was That?

The Steller's Jay is a jay... and it's blue. But it's not a true Blue Jay with a capital "B." The bona fide Blue Jay is primarily a bird of the East. Both are smaller cousins to the American Crow and the Common Raven. And the Blue Jay and the Steller's Jay have similar personalities. Like their... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Those Raucous Jays

A raucous call and a bold flash of blue at your feeder means a jay has arrived. East of the Rockies, your visitor is quite likely a Blue Jay (left). Out west, you're probably seeing a Steller's Jay. These daring blue dandies sound the alarm, announcing the approach of a predator. Often the loud... read more »


Connecting with Birds - Interview with Craig Johnson

Bird photographer and painter Craig Johnson and his wife Joy often headed to the nearest wetland to look for birds. Each day was an adventure. At night, Craig would paint from what they’d seen. Then a few years ago, a progressive and debilitating disease crept into his life. Craig now watches... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Fake Marbled Murrelet Eggs Cause Jays to Vomit

Because the Marbled Murrelet lays only one egg, its odds of raising a family are slim. Steller's Jays – as they frequent campgrounds in the redwood forests of northern California, looking for human handouts – further threaten murrelet reproduction by eating their eggs. Fortunately, scientists... read more »

Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Hayden Goold Observes the Birds

My name is Hayden Goold. I am a fourth-grader at School in the Woods in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am sitting at a picnic table looking at birds with binoculars. I see a blue and black bird with a mohawk. It’s a Steller’s Jay! I try to come closer, but he flies higher into the tree, scaring... read more »

Topics & Themes:  listener story, reflection

Learning to Band Birds - Puget Sound Bird Observatory

Picture yourself holding a tiny, Black-capped Chickadee like this one. Or a big, blue Steller’s Jay! Volunteer Mark Purcell did just that while learning to net and band birds with the Puget Sound Bird Observatory. “It’s thrilling to see a bird that close,” he says. “You have complete control over... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science, ecology, science

The Jay Game

Many jays, including this California Scrub-Jay, store food for sustenance in harsher seasons. An individual bird may cache nuts, insects, and even worms in several thousand spots. If jays visit your yard, here’s a game you can play with them. Each day, preferably when the jays aren’t watching,... read more »


What Are Birds Saying with Their Crests?

A bird’s crest is made up of a slender array of feathers on top of its head. These feathers are a bit longer and can be spiked up or slicked back, depending on what the bird is trying to communicate. Even birds without crests, like crows or sparrows, sometimes puff up their short crown feathers... read more »