Local Wildlife

Steller's Jay

Picture of Steller's Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta stelleri
Audio: Listen Now
Audio Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Addt'l Info: Univ. of Michigan

The adult steller's jay has a black, thick, pointed bill and a dark blue/cobalt plumage over most of its body (including the wings which also have a pattern of black barring). The entire head is usually black with a distinctive crest. These jays can (and do) live almost anywhere, though they prefer coniferous forests of pine and oak. In Sunriver, they can be seen just about everywhere except the open meadows west of the Sunriver Resort lodge near the airport and marina.

Steller's jays are omnivorous with a diet consisting primarily of nuts, pine seeds, and acorns. Like other jays, they are known to eat the eggs of other birds. Foraging takes place on the ground and in the trees. Scavenging is also known to take place in and around developed areas and campgrounds.

Steller's jays are monogamous. After a mate has been selected, the pair both select a site and build a nest. The nest is a cup structure, typically made up of mud, plant fibers, twigs, and rootlets. Females lay one egg per day, with the clutch ranging between two and six eggs.

The steller's jay is a highly social species. Flocks of various sizes form often, with mates rarely parting. Aggressive fighting and crest displays are used to establish social status. Steller's jays use wing spreading to express submission. To protect them selves from predators, most often hawks, these birds often gather in large numbers to vocally harass and fly at predators.