California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay

A California Scrub Jay is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify California Scrub Jays. We have also put together a list of fun California Scrub Jay t-shirts, California Scrub Jay bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.

About the California Scrub Jay

The California Scrub Jay is native to western North America, ranging from southern British Columbia to California west of Sierra Nevada. It is a nonmigratory bird that can be seen in urban areas for those that are interested in bird watching. Other types of birds in the same family include the Island Scrub Jay, the Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay, and the Florida Scrub Jay. The California Scrub Jay has a healthy population and has been increasing in the recent years.

Description and Identification

California Scrub Jays are large, tall, and attractive songbirds with long tails and rotund bills. Males are larger than females. They have a mixture of gray and black around their eyes, and a royal blue forehead streaked with white eyebrows. On the wings their primary and secondary feathers are both royal blue. Their breasts, flanks and belly are white or grey, and their mantle is black or brown. They have several physical similarities with Woodhouse’s Scrub Jays, but they can be distinguished by the lack of white in their wings, their absence of a crest, and the unique combination of a brown back, white breast, and blue head. Juvenile California Scrub Jays have grey upperparts and underparts, with a blue tail and a streak of blue appearing on their wings. The call of these birds is “harsh or scratchy”.

California Scrub Jay Color Pattern

It combines deep azure blue upperparts, a clean white underpart and soft gray-brown on the back of their wings. The colors are almost similar to that of the Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay.

California Scrub Jay Size

The California Scrub Jay is fairly a medium-sized bird with its length ranging from 27-31cm long. They have a wingspan of 39 cm and weigh about 80g.

California Scrub Jay
California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay Behavior

The calls made by the bird are a hallmark sound of the open west. The Scrub Jay is mostly seen swooping across clearings while giving harsh calls with their tails flopping in flight. They have come to be seen as a tamer species as they would access birdfeeders in people’s backyards.

They forage on the ground and in trees for food singly and may be seen in family units during the breeding season. They also harvest acorns and bury them probably to access them later.

What California Scrub Jay Eat

The Scrub Jay is omnivorous, although their diets vary with the season. They eat a variety of insects over summer but fewer spiders and snails. Moth and caterpillars are majorly fed to their young. The diet changes over winter to acorn, seeds, nuts, and berries. They may also eat rodents, eggs, and young ones of other bird species.

Where California Scrub Jays Live

California Scrub Jays are often seen in open, arid and, coastal habitats. They thrive in areas which are densely populated with humans. Although common in areas with lower elevations such as thick grasses, open shrubs and bushes, they can inhabit areas with elevations as high as 2.3 miles. These birds are often spotted in forests with a dense environment of pines and oak trees.

The bird can be found in oak scrubs, oak woodlands, foothill forests of pinyon pine and riverside woods. They are common in well-wooded suburbs and parks.

Range and Migration

California Scrub Jays, commonly known as “Blue Jays” of the lowlands are mainly found in Western regions of North America. These birds can be spotted from Central Texas to the West Coast. California Scrub Jays have been located in areas as far south as southern regions of Mexico, and as far north as northern Oregon. These birds aren’t long distance migrants, they only leave their native regions during winter months to lowland areas on the edge of their range.

California Scrub Jay Lifecycle

The bird clutches 3-5 eggs and incubation are by the female which takes 17-18 days. The young leave the nest 18-22 days after hatching to grow into full-fledged adults. The California Scrub Jay takes about 9 years to exhaust its lifecycle.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

  • Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription

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  • Kid & Adult Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

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  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee
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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying California Scrub Jays

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing California Scrub Jays are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

    Birding Binoculars

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  • Kids Binocular 8x21

    Kids Binoculars

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California Scrub Jay T-shirts

If you love the California Scrub Jay you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

California Scrub Jay Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron on patches. Our bird watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The California Scrub Jay is a great iron on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

  • California Scrub Jay iron on patches

    California Scrub Jay Iron on Patches

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  • Bird Banner with iron on patches

    Bird Banner

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California Scrub Jay Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the California Scrub Jay. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders For California Scrub Jay

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds

Best Bird Houses for California Scrub Jay

There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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