Beautiful Blue


Roseburg, United States

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Artist's Description

This Steller Jay visited us at our camp at Bullards Beach State Park looking for Peanuts. My Dad always called them camp robbers because they would take any thing that was left out to eat.
Canon EOS Digital Rebel
Sigma 300 zoom Lens
Bandon, Oregon
The Steller’s Jay primarily lives in coniferous forests but can be found in many forested areas. They can be found in low to moderate elevations as high as the tree line, but rarely go that high. Steller’s Jays are common in residential and agricultural areas with nearby forests. The range is primarily west of the Rocky Mountains, reaching as far south as Central America and as far north as Alaska.

Birders have reported recent sightings of the Steller’s Jay in San Antonio, Texas. This bird is rare in Texas, particularly outside of migration and breeding seasons.
As they are omnivores, their diet is about two-thirds plant matter and one third animal matter. Food is gathered from both the ground and from trees. The Steller’s Jay’s diet consists of a wide range of seeds, nuts, berries and other fruit. Many types of invertebrates, eggs, small rodents, and nestlings are also eaten. There are some accounts of them eating small reptiles, both snakes and lizards. Acorns and conifer seeds are staples during the non-breeding season; these are often cached in the ground or in trees for later consumption. They exploit human-provided food sources, frequently scavenging picnics and camp sites.

The nest is usually in a conifer but is sometimes built in a hollow in a tree. Similar in construction to the Blue Jay’s nest, it tends to be a bit larger (25 cm to 43 cm), using a number of natural materials or scavenged trash, often mixed with mud. Between two and six eggs are laid during breeding season. The eggs are oval in shape with a somewhat glossy surface. The background colour of the egg shell tends to be pale variations of greenish-blue with brown- or olive-coloured speckles. The clutch is usually incubated entirely by the female for 17 to 18 days.

Like all jays, its calls are numerous and variable. Notably, its alarm call is a harsh nasal “wah”. It also imitates the cry of the Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk, which has the effect of causing other birds to vacate feeding areas at the Steller’s Jay’s approach. Some calls are sex-specific; females produce a rattling sound while males make a high-pitched “gleep”.

This bird is named after the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller who discovered them in 1741 (Evans 1986).

Artwork Comments

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  • Meg Hart
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