Common Name (preferred): Steller's Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta stelleri
Size (weight, length & wingspan) English & Metric: Weight—3.7oz (105g), Length—11.5" (29 cm), Wingspan—19" (47.5 cm)
Habitat: Pine-oak woodlands and coniferous forests
Diet: Seeds, insects, carrion, eggs, baby birds, & young rodents
Predators: Raptors (owls and hawks)
The Steller's Jay ranges west of the Rockies from Alaska to Mexico. Often found in higher elevations of pine-oak woodlands and coniferous forests, they will occasionally drop to lower elevations during the winter.
Jays are omnivorous but feed mainly on seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. However, they will also kill nestlings and scavenge. Steller's Jays can be easily found in picnic areas begging for food.
A Steller's Jay will often announce its arrival with a loud, clamorous call. The Rocky Mountain subspecies is also famous for flaring its white eyebrows when behaving aggressively. They are very good at imitating other birds, especially Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, flickers, squirrels, and cats.
All jays mob predators. Owls and hawks can sometimes be found by following agitated jays and crows.
When and where to see at Bryce:
Erlich, Paul R. et al. 1988. The Birder's Handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American Birds, Simon and Schuster/Fireside Books, New York
Ryser, Fred A. 1985. Birds of the Great Basin: A Natural History. University of Nevada Press
Sibley, David Allen. 2001. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Knopf Publishing
Did You Know?
USS Bryce Canyon (AD-36) was named after the park. Commissioned 15 September 1950 at Charleston SC,(22 years after the park was established, to the day), Decommissioned 30 June 1981. A plaque, with a Flag and Ensign last flown over the ship are on display in the Headquarters building. More...