NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
Chara Crestada - en Espaņol

distribution map

What they look like: Adults: Head, neck and upper back are black. Their beak and feet are also black. From the neck down they are blue. Young birds are darker and the blue portions are not as bright as in the adult.

Blue Jays are about the same size of an American Robin or about half the size of a pigeon.

Steller's Jay

Where they live: Pacific coast from southern California to Alaska; resident and breeding throughout it's range. The Steller's Jay can be found in mixed forests, hardwood forests, coniferous forest, residential areas, and agricultural areas in forested landscapes.

What they eat: In the fall, winter, and spring their food consists largely of acorns, chestnuts, berries, seeds, grain, insect, lizards etc. During the summer months they destroy and devour a great many eggs and young of smaller birds. They will watch a nest until the full compliment of eggs is laid before stealing the eggs.

Nesting: Their nests are made of a bunch of tiny sticks stuck together with mud and lined with fine rootlets placed 6 to 30 feet high in evergreen trees. That means their nests could be low enough for an adult to touch to as high up as a three story building.

They lay about 3 to 5 eggs. The eggs are the color of the light blue sky on a sunny day. Their eggs also have light brown spots on them. Steller's Jays usually lay their eggs from April to May.

Did you know?

  • The Steller's Jay uses mud to buid their nests.
  • Jays will come to bird feeders and take peanuts. They will stuff 1-2 peanuts in their crops (a sac in the throat where food is stored for digestion) before they fly away.
  • Jays will cache (store in ground)nuts to eat during the winter. They will put a leaf or piece of material to mark the location but forget where they store all of them. Their "forgetfulness" allows the nuts to germinate and grow into young trees.

    Steller's Jay Silhouette
    Steller's Jay
    Adult Steller's Jay

    Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

    Photo Credit: Natures Pics

    Home | About Us | How to Participate | Biodiversity Modules | Projects | Maps | News | Resources