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Steller's Jay


Steller's Jay
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5136 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2016-09-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/160 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2016-10-10 10:25
Viewed: 1829
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the Blue Jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. It is also known as the Long-crested Jay, Mountain Jay, and Pine Jay. Colloquially it is also referred to as a blue jay in parts of the Pacific Northwest, though it is a distinct species from the Blue Jay of eastern North America. It is the only crested jay west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Steller's Jay shows a great deal of regional variation throughout its range. Blackish-brown-headed birds from the north gradually become bluer-headed farther south. The Steller's Jay has a more slender bill and longer legs than the Blue Jay and has a much more pronounced crest. It is also somewhat larger. The head is blackish-brown with light blue streaks on the forehead. This dark coloring gives way from the shoulders and lower breast to silvery blue. The primaries and tail are a rich blue with darker barring.

It occurs in coniferous forest over much of the western half of North America from Alaska in the north to northern Nicaragua completely replacing the blue jay in most of those areas. Some hybridization with the Blue Jay in Colorado has been reported. The Steller's Jay lives in coniferous and mixed woodland, but not in completely dense forest, and requires open space. It typically lives in flocks of greater than 10 individuals. In autumn, flocks often visit oak woods when acorns are ripe.

Habitat
The Steller's Jay primarily lives in coniferous forests but can be found in many forested areas. They can be found in low to moderate elevations as high as the tree line, but rarely go that high. Steller's jays are common in residential and agricultural areas with nearby forests.

Diet
Steller's Jays are omnivores; their diet is about two-thirds plant matter and one third animal matter. Food is gathered from both the ground and from trees. The Steller's Jay's diet consists of a wide range of seeds, nuts, berries and other fruit. Many types of invertebrates, small rodents, eggs and nestlings such as those of the Marbled Murrelet are also eaten. There are some accounts of them eating small reptiles, both snakes and lizards. Acorns and conifer seeds are staples during the non-breeding season; these are often cached in the ground or in trees for later consumption. They exploit human-provided food sources, frequently scavenging picnics and camp sites. Steller's Jays will visit feeders and prefer black-oil sunflower seeds, white striped sunflower seeds, cracked corn, shelled raw peanuts and are especially attracted to whole raw peanuts. Suet is also consumed but mostly in the winter season.

Breeding
The nest is usually in a conifer but is sometimes built in a hollow in a tree. Similar in construction to the Blue Jay's nest, it tends to be a bit larger (25 to 43 cm)), using a number of natural materials or scavenged trash, often mixed with mud. Between two and six eggs are laid during breeding season. The eggs are oval in shape with a somewhat glossy surface. The background colour of the egg shell tends to be pale variations of greenish-blue with brown- or olive-coloured speckles. The clutch is usually incubated entirely by the female for about 16 days.

Vocalizations
Like other jays, the Steller's Jay has numerous and variable vocalizations. One common call is a harsh SHACK-Sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck series; another skreeka! skreeka! call sounds almost exactly like an old-fashioned pump handle; yet another is a soft, breathy hoodle hoodle whistle. Its alarm call is a harsh, nasal wah. Some calls are sex-specific: females produce a rattling sound, while males make a high-pitched gleep gleep.
The Steller's Jay also is a noted vocal mimic. It can mimic the vocalizations of many species of birds, other animals, and sounds of non-animal origin. It often will imitate the calls from birds of prey such as the Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Osprey, causing other birds to seek cover and flee feeding areas.

Name
This bird is named after the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, the first European to record them in 1741.

Source: Wikipedia

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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
Beautiful bird and nice colour. Very well captured. Excellent sharp details and like the way you have framed.
Thanks for sharing,
Best regards,
Srikumar

hallo Peter
super mooie blauwe kleur heeft deze vogel
mooie compositie en goed van scherpte
de veren op zijn rug hebben wat weg van onze vlaamsegaai
gr lou

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6482 W: 89 N: 15613] (65313)
  • [2016-10-10 16:06]

Hi Peter,the composition is lovely,looks like a part of a Christmas tree! And the colors too are amazing,the blue of this beautiful Jay is magic,great capture despite the difficult light,another pearl from your last trip! Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

Indeed a beautiful bird from Canada, Peter. Great that you were able to use tripod for this shot. Makes a sky of difference.
The blue colour of the bird is very attractive. The natural habitat comes out strongly in this image.
Thanks.
Ram

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2752 W: 280 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2016-10-11 18:34]

Hello Peter,
You have done a wonderful job of presenting this beautiful jay to us. The colors in it's plumage are gorgeous and it gave you a winning pose. Very sharp while showing excellent detail and just the right amount of exposure.
Ron

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird with fantastic colors, excellent sharpness, splendid light and fine details, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

It is a real beauty, I have some blue jays in my backyard (I recognize their singing) but they are very shy and hide in very old and tall trees.
If I'm lucky I might see them 2 or 3 times during spring to late august.
You really did capture the beauty of it's feathers.

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