Steller's Jay

The Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is one of the ubiquitous birds seen at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. They are a non-migratory species found in western coniferous and mixed-coniferous forests, breeding from Alaska, western Canada, and the United States south through western Mexico to Nicaragua. Although they are normally non-migratory, populations that breed at high elevations typically move to lower elevations during the winter.

Steller's Jay Range MapOften found around campgrounds, the boisterous calls from these conspicuous birds can be heard from a distance. I have never noticed but the Steller’s Jay also produces a softer call known as the “whisper song.”

Steller's Jay

They are a very handsome bird with their deep blue color and distinctive black crest (click on photos for full sized images).

Steller's Jay

One of my favorite distinguishing characteristics of this Jay are the blue streaks on its forehead.

Steller's Jay

The Steller’s Jay discovered by and named for the naturalist, Georg Wilhelm Steller, who found this Jay on Kayak Island off the southern coast of Alaska in 1741, could just as well have been named “Stellar” don’t you think?

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Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.