Sunday, June 5, 2011
If blue is your favorite color, you will enjoy the Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri). For an elegant touch, add a black hood and cape. This is another iconic bird of the Pacific Northwest. Find them in forest edge habitats from southern Alaska into central California and in the Rocky Mountains. This is a large and active bird and it has been difficult to get a crisp shot at the BirdCams. Attracting them to feeders is easy. Put out a few whole, raw peanuts and they'll be on them within a minute. It's like they have peanut radar.
This is one of my very first photos caught with the BirdCam. The blue marks on the forehead are a characteristic of the local birds. They sometimes exhibit the behavior of a classic bully, noisy, aggressive and cowardly. I can tell they are around from anywhere in the house. They arrive at the feeders with a loud, shrill cheeeck-cheeeck-cheeeck-cheeeck to chase the other birds away. If they catch one glimpse of me, however, they are gone in a flash. The tiny Wrens and Chickadees are much braver. When I hear hawks calling from high in the trees, I know it's really the Steller's Jays up to their old tricks. Imitating the calls of hawks is one of their specialty behaviors.
The Jays around public parks and campgrounds are much braver. They have learned to beg for food from campers and picnickers. Jays are Corvids along with Ravens, Crows and Magpies. As a group, all of these birds are intelligent and quick learners. The have been successful, in part, because they have learned to live with humans and exploit our habits and behaviors.