Bird Watch

Noisy Steller's jay makes its home in trees

Scientific name: Cyanocitta stelleri

Characteristics: Adults are similar: 12 to 14 inches long with cobalt bodies, sooty-colored crested heads and black barring on wing tips and tail feathers.

Breeding: Nest cup, built in a conifer, is lined with small roots and plant fibers. Females incubate the greenish, spotted eggs for around 16 days; average clutch is four eggs.

Habitat: Ponderosa pine, urban woodlands or coniferous and deciduous forests in the West.

Food: Omnivorous. Diet includes pine seeds, berries, acorns, nuts, insects, eggs and young birds, amphibians, snakes and even carrion. Caches seeds and fruits in the fall for winter food.

Bird facts: Member of the crow family and named after German zoologist Georg Wilhelm Steller. They are raucous birds and can imitate the scream of a red-tailed hawk. A flock of jays is also called a “scold” of jays.

Sources: Oregon Department of Wildlife Resources and National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region.

— Damian Fagan is a birder, writer and past president of the East Cascades Audubon Society. He can be reached at .

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