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Merlin Bird ID

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    Steller's Jay

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    Steller's Jay

    Cyanocitta stelleri
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Corvidae
    Basic Description

    A large, dark jay of evergreen forests in the mountainous West. Steller’s Jays are common in forest wildernesses but are also fixtures of campgrounds, parklands, and backyards, where they are quick to spy bird feeders as well as unattended picnic items. When patrolling the woods, Steller’s Jays stick to the high canopy, but you’ll hear their harsh, scolding calls if they’re nearby. Graceful and almost lazy in flight, they fly with long swoops on their broad, rounded wings.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Steller's JayRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Drive into the mountains, and as soon as an evergreen canopy closes over your head you can start looking for Steller’s Jays or listening for their scratchy, scolding calls. Also keep an eye out around feeders, backyards, picnic tables, and campgrounds, where they are probably already watching you, sizing up their prospects for a handout.

    Other Names
    • Chara Copetona (Spanish)
    • Geai de Steller (French)

    Backyard Tips

    To attract Steller’s Jays to your feeders, put out peanuts or other large seeds and nuts as well as suet. If you see jays hogging your feeders and taking large numbers of seeds, they may be carrying some away to store in a cache to help them get through the winter. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

    • Cool Facts