A Steller’s Jay is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Steller’s Jays. We have also put together a list of fun Steller’s Jay t-shirts, Steller’s Jaybird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Steller’s Jays
It is also known as the pine, mountain, and long-crested jay. It is a bird that descended from North America and is the only crested jay west of the Rocky Mountains.
Description and Identification
Steller’s Jays are striking bluebirds that are 12-13 inches in length and they weigh about 3.5-4.9
oz. The size and color of these birds vary greatly with the range they occupy. Steller’s Jays in
the north are blackish-brown, but they become significantly bluer down south. These birds are
similar in appearance to Blue Jays, but they have a leaner bill and longer legs. Steller’s Jays are
also larger than Blue Jays. These birds have black fronts and deep blue rears. The black of their
fronts extends down from their shoulders towards their breasts. These birds also have dark bars on
their wings. Steller’s Jays have distinctive blue horizontal lines above their eyes. Juvenile Steller’s
Jays can be distinguished from the adults by observing their browner head, and the lack of blue
vertical lines over their eyes. These birds are highly vocal, except when they are nesting. Their
most common call is a begging call that can be heard at feeders, campgrounds, and picnic areas.
Steller’s Jays are highly intelligent and opportunistic birds that don’t shy away from reaping the
benefits of new food sources.
Steller’s Jay Appearance
The birds are primarily blue and black, with a black head and shoulders which gives way to a silvery blue on the lower back and underside. They have a brown-black crest with blue streaks on the forehead. The birds show some variation according to their habitat, with the eastern birds showing white streaks on the forehead. The western Steller’s Jays have little or no white or blue streaks.
Juveniles appear identical to the adults but with ruffled feathers.
Steller’s Jay Feeding
Steller’s Jays mostly forage while perched on tree branches on high elevations, but sometimes
they also forage on the ground. These birds are omnivores, but most of their diet is comprised of
vegetable matter. The animal’s portion of their diet consists of carrion, reptiles, small rodents,
nestlings, and invertebrates. Steller’s Jays eat plant matter such as nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits.
These birds readily accept any scraps that humans offer them. Steller’s Jays also commonly
predate the eggs of other birds.
They are omnivorous. Most of their diet is plant-based but they consume animal life from time to time. They mostly eat seeds, berries, nuts, and fruits and their animal diet contains small reptiles and rodents, invertebrates, nestlings, and eggs.
They also visit bird feeders and human-altered feeding sites and have shown a great liking to black-oil sunflower seeds.
Steller’s Jay Habitat
The breeding habitats preferred by Steller’s Jays are dense coniferous forests. These birds can be
seen in various other habitats through the rest of the year. Steller’s Jays are commonly found in low
to moderate elevations. These birds also inhabit residential areas that have a sufficient amount of
trees and agricultural areas that are in close vicinity to forests. These birds nest in higher
elevations than those they otherwise reside in.
Steller’s Jays mostly live in coniferous forests. However, they are also found in common residential and agricultural sites near forests.
They prefer low to moderate altitudes.
Range and Migration
Steller’s Jays, also commonly known as crested jays and mountain jays are birds that are most
commonly found in western North America. The breeding range of these birds begins in Alaska
and goes through western Canada, western U.S., and western Mexico to Nicaragua. Steller’s Jays
are permanent residents throughout their ranges, but they might travel to lower elevations during
winters. These jays are constantly seen in new habitats and areas due to periodic irruptions of their
Steller’s Jay Life and Behavior
The jays are fairly social and can interact with a lot of other animals, including human beings.
They live in pairs and construct their nests in coniferous forests. The female lays 2 to 6 eggs and incubates them alone for about 16 days. During this time, the male brings food to the female as she stays in the nest all day long and mouth feeds her. The Steller’s Jays are known to be noisy birds but are quiet during nesting so as not to attract attention. On top of this, the male provides protection to the female as she incubates and also protects the eggs in the process.
Steller’s Jay Nesting
Steller’s Jays are intelligent birds that form long-lasting bonds with their mates. Both members of
the pair remain together for the entire year. Nests are constructed in coniferous by both males and
females. These nests are lined with pine needles, rootlets, and other fine materials, and sometimes
the nest is covered with several bits of paper. Female Steller’s Jays lay about 4-5 eggs that need
to be incubated for a period of approximately 16 days. Nestlings are provided parental care for 16
days after they hatch.
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.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Steller’s Jays
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Steller’s 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.
Steller’s Jay T-shirts
If you love the Steller’s Jay you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Steller’s 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 Steller’s 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.
Steller’s Jay Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Steller’s 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 Steller’s 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 Steller’s 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.