Native Animal of the Month

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Stellar’s jay – Cyanocitta stelleri
 

If you’ve spent some time outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, you have most likely come across a Steller’s jay. Common residents along the northwest coast, Steller’s jays can be found in conifer forests, pine-oak forests, and forested suburbs. Identified by their striking deep-blue and black feathers, this coloring helps them blend into the forest shadows. We have had several sightings of Steller’s jays near our wooded wetlands here at the Nature Preserve this year.
 

The Steller’s jay is an omnivorous bird, meaning it eats food from both plants and animals. They feed mostly on nuts and seeds, especially pine seeds and acorns. Other foods included in their diet are various wild fruits and berries, insects, bird eggs, small rodents, lizards, and even table scraps. Steller’s jays are opportunistic feeders and can be a bit boisterous, even aggressive, when foraging. The Steller’s jay can often be spotted utilizing bird feeders.

 

Steller’s jays are loud and confidant birds, but when nesting they become quiet and secretive. Steller’s jays are monogamous and will stay with their mate year-round. The female lays pale blue-green eggs speckled with fine brown or olive spots. The eggs hatch in 16-18 days and after about three weeks of being cared for by their parents, the young take their first flight. Have you seen any Stellar’s jays nesting near you?

 

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