Cyanocitta stelleri • Mammals
A member of the corvidae family, which includes crows and magpies, the steller’s jay is a large, dark jay that boasts a prominent triangular crest that often stands nearly straight up from their head. Like other jays, they are bold, aggressive, inquisitive, intelligent and NOISY!
Steller’s jays breed primarily in dense conifer forests. They can be found from low to moderate elevations. They are common in treed residential areas, agricultural areas with adjacent forests and campgrounds and picnic areas. Steller’s Jays have complex social hierarchies and dominance patterns. Outside of the breeding season they form flocks and will fly in graceful, single file formation.
Steller’s jays are omnivores and their diets are about 2/3 vegetable-matter and 1/3 animal-matter. The vegetable portion of their diet consists of seeds, nuts, berries, and fruits, and the animal-matter portion consists of bird eggs and nestlings, invertebrates, suet, small rodents, reptiles, and carrion. They cache (store) extra nuts, making sure that the food is covered from all directions.
An excellent mimic with a large repertoire, the steller’s jay can imitate birds, squirrels, cats, dogs, chickens, and some mechanical objects.