The Conspicuous 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.
Often 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.”
They are a very handsome bird with their deep blue color and distinctive black crest (click on photos for full sized images).
One of my favorite distinguishing characteristics of this Jay are the blue streaks on its forehead.
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?