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 raucous personalities. Like their larger cousins, the crows, ravens, and magpies, they are intelligent opportunists.
Which Jay Was That?
Written by Ellen Blackstone
This is BirdNote.
[Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat of the Steller’s Jay]
Hear this bird? It’s a jay … and it’s blue. But this is a Steller’s Jay, not a true Blue Jay with a capital “B.” The bona fide Blue Jay [Jay, jay call of the Blue Jay] is primarily a bird of the East, or east of the Rocky Mountains at least. Of the many jays in the US, these are the only two that sport crests. [Jay, jay call of the Blue Jay]
These jays have similar personalities. Both are raucous and have a bit of a reputation for being “bad boys.” Nineteenth-century observer, Thomas Nuttall, wrote of the Steller’s Jay that “they are as watchful as dogs,” and that “they neglect all other employment… to come round, follow, peep at and scold (you).” [Steller’s Jay].
Like their larger cousins, the crows and ravens and magpies, Blue Jays and Steller’s Jays are intelligent opportunists. Having adapted to the places where we live, they come readily to bird feeders and are bold about asking for handouts. Both imitate raptors, but their other calls are quite different. One more time here’s the Blue Jay… and the Stellar’s Jay.
To compare photos of these two birds — and hear them again — come to our web site, BirdNote.org.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Steller's Jay  recorded by L.J. PEYTON; Blue Jay  recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org 2017 Narrator: Michael Stein