Bird of the Week: Steller’s Jay

Last week we did asked you to send us good birds. And WOW did you deliver. We received dozens of suggestions. They were all beyond incredible, and we will definitely be using them. Thank you so much!!!!!!

But out of all the reader submissions, we have to choose one entry. It comes from Randall Sullivan, and it’s so thorough, so detailed, and so fun, that we decided to reproduce it in full. It’s about one of the most beautiful birds we’ve ever seen: the Steller’s Jay. Randall, thank you for your dedication to the pursuit of bird knowledge. Thanks for caring about the blog. Thanks for sharing this beautiful Bird of the Week.

Okay, to Randall!!!


—I mean, just look at the colors and contrast of this beauty!!!

—It is the only jay native to the West Coast with a crest (the beautiful black mohawk at the top).

—They use mud to build their nests (similar to the blue jay).

– Speaking of the blue jay, the Steller’s jay is known to breed with each other, up to a few actually great looking hybrids. There are now 18 subspecies of Steller’s jays, ranging from Alaska to Nicaragua.

—They often bury seeds and nuts in the ground or in trees to eat them later.

—Their call is described as “cruel“but they can also mimic other birds, such as hawksto scare away smaller birds.

– Despite being a European naturalist, fortunately their namesake, Georg Steller, was not a terrible monster. Records show that he was one of the first Europeans to set foot on Alaskan soil and is responsible for documenting a large number of plants and animals there.

– Side note about that Alaska expedition: Steller traveled with Vitus Bering (of Bering Strait fame) as the expedition’s scientist and physician. A fast Wikipedia search shows that this voyage included a massive outbreak of scurvy (because they would not follow Steller’s advice), a shipwreck, the resulting death of Bering from the disease, attacks by arctic foxes on their limited food, and the construction of a small boat from the wrecked boat to home. Wild things!


This is about 1500 times better than anything we could have written. This is why we love you all – because you are brilliant geniuses who know about birds. Thanks again to Randall and to everyone who submitted their recommendations. We will be highlighting them in the coming weeks and months. Yay!!!!!!

A reminder: that is possible View our full Bird of the Week list hereand get in touch with your birding suggestions [email protected].