The California Scrub Jay is often confused with the Blue Jay
(Cyanocitta cristata), which is only found on the U.S.'s East Coast ,
Jays are nonmigratory birds whose habitat
consists of areas with stunted trees: mesquite
, scrub oak
, pinyon pine
, and thick, low brush. They can also be found in or near suburban yards or wooded city parks.
- In summer, Scrub Jays eat a variety of animal foods, including small reptiles, mammals and amphibians, insects and the eggs and young of other birds (they're not the most popular backyard bird)
They would probably eat adults, too, but they don't have a Hawk's predatory equipment.
- Winter foraging flocks devour pine seeds, nuts, berries, and acorns. Pine seeds and acorns are often cached. Other feeding strategies include stealing the seed caches of Woodpeckers and Nutcrackers and perching on cattle and deer, Oxpecker-style, to search for ticks.
- This large crestless Jay has patternless wings and a long tail, is approximately 11.5 inches in length.
- The bluish hood, wings, rump, and tail of this coastal form of the Western Scrub Jay contrast strongly with a dull brown mantle and white throat.
- The forehead is whitish and the side of the face is dark.
- The throat and upper breast are white, streaked with blurry gray, and bordered with a dark blue breast band.
- Underparts below the breast band are pale grayish buff, darker on the flanks and undertail coverts.
- The bill and legs are black.
- The sexes are similar in appearance with the females slightly larger.
- Juveniles are more dull in color, grayish above with blue on the wings and tail.
Though if you were a Finch or other neighborhood treetop bird you may not want a Scrub Jay taking up residence near you, they are quite handsome, and, like the entire Jay family, they are smart. As backyard birds, they are interesting to watch. When the Jays bathe, they can just about empty the bird bath. They seem to do everything with gusto!
*information courtesy of www.laaudubon.com