Steller’s Jays

Today I wanted to write about Steller’s jays because they are outside my office window squawking for attention – screeching really. Those birds certainly cause a ruckus. And every time I look out the window to see what’s going on, there’s nothing going on. Except the cacophony of Steller’s jays. Don’t get me wrong, I love the noise. I like to think they are just yelling, “Look at me! Look at me!” In truth, they are communicating to one another about what’s going on and potential threats.

Photo by Noel Reynolds, 2013

Steller’s jays are beautiful too. From afar they appear blue and black; but up close, as in right through the window, I can see the white markings around their eyes, like a painted decoration. Their blue feathers are also shimmery in the sun.

I learned a few other things about these birds. They are highly intelligent and social, most always traveling in groups (thus amplifying the noise!). Considered foragers (including stealing from other birds’ nests), Steller’s jays will also cache food. And about that ruckus? Apparently these birds are masters at mimicking – they can imitate other birds, squirrels, dogs, cats, and even some mechanical noises. I’m going to start listening more closely!