(Photo by Jim Merritt)

(Photo by Jim Merritt)

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it (large or actual) to editor@trailtimes.ca

Jim Merritt got some frequent visits from stellar jays to his backyard bird bath on Laburnum Drive in Trail, recently.

Aside from enjoying peanuts left out for them to snack on, one jay took time to enjoy a quick soak.

If you have a recent photo you would like to share with our readers email it to editor@trailtimes.ca

About the Stellar’s Jay:

~ Source: Vancouver Avian Research Centre

Steller’s Jay is British Columbia’s provincial bird.

It ranges from Alaska to Central America and is the western equivalent to its eastern cousin the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). These jays have been reported as far east as San Antonio, Texas. Like its larger relatives the crows and ravens, the Steller’s Jay readily adapted to urban environments. Its most apparent call is the raspy Shiak! Shiak! Shiak!


General: Like most other corvids, Steller’s Jays tend to be larger than other passerines with blue plumage. It is however smaller than the Corvus spp. The head can be charcoal black with a prominent crest. Lightest shades of blue are on the wings which are interspersed with darker blue banding. Its bill is long and sturdy with a slight hook. Adults weigh between 100 g to 140 g and measure between 30 cm to 34 cm in length. Wingspan can be 44 cm.

Adult Male: Males are difficult to distinguish from females visually from a distance but tend to be slightly larger. Males in breeding condition could be sexed in-hand for the cloacal protuberance. Audibly, males tend to produce a high-pitched “gleep”.

Adult Female: Females are difficult to distinguish from males visually from a distance but tend to be slightly smaller. Females in breeding condition would have a brood patch. Audibly, females tend to produce a rattling call.

Juvenile: Juveniles are similarly plumaged like the adults, but it would lack the blue vertical “brows” and its head is slightly browner.

Similar Species: The Steller’s Jay is a distinctive bird and is readily distinguished from the Blue Jay. The ranges of both species rarely overlap, but hybrids were reported from the state of Colorado.

Behavior: Steller’s Jay can hop about on the ground or in the trees with their long legs to forage. Their habit of regularly cocking their heads gives an air of inquisitiveness. They sometimes flock up to 10 or more together and are known to beg food from humans with their raspy calls.

Habitat: A common visitor to residential lawns and other urban habitats it is also at home in more naturalized areas. Its natural habitat is coniferous to mixed coniferous forests.


The Steller’s Jay is named after Georg Wilhelm Steller who was the naturalist and physician during the Russian expedition to North America’s northwest in 1741. Sixteen subspecies are recognized throughout its range. They occur from sea level to 2100 m.

Steller’s Jays are omnivorous. They will forage for fruits, seeds and nuts and are known to steal the food caches of other animals. Small vertebrates, insects and other invertebrates are hunted and jays have even been recorded preying on smaller passerines such as Dark-Eyed juncos and Pygmy Nuthatches. They frequently raid the nests of other birds for eggs and nestlings.

Steller’s Jays like many corvids demonstrate intelligent and opportunistic behavior. They have the ability to mimic the calls of other animals such as chickens and dogs. They are known to use this talent to scare other birds from feeders by imitating the calls of raptors such as the Red-Tailed Hawk. They also often mimic raptor calls to deter other jays from intruding on their territory.

Steller’s Jays are year-round residents in British Columbia and not normally migratory. Birds that live in higher elevations move down slope during winter.

Monogamous pairs typically form long-term bonds. Like the Blue Jay, the Steller’s Jay is the only jay species in the Americas known to use mud in nest construction. The mud is used to bind twigs, moss, leaves and even human trash to form a bulky cup up to 25 cm in diameter. The cup is lined with softer materials such as pine needles and hair. A clutch of 2 – 6 light green-blue eggs with brown, purple or olive speckles are laid. The female incubates the eggs for about 16 -18 days. The brood fledges about 16 days after hatching, but is still sustained by the parents for a month.

Jays will form flocks outside of the breeding season termed a “band”, “cast”, “party” or “scold”.

Conservation Status:

The opportunistic Steller’s Jay expanded its portfolio of habitats and population during the past 20 years as the North American west coast succumbed to urban sprawl and other development. Its reputation as a nest predator would make it a concern for other less adaptable birds.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A living wage sets a higher standard than the minimum wage; it is what a family needs to earn to provide the basic needs based on the actual costs of living in a community.
Fruitvale now a living wage employer

“I’m really excited that Fruitvale is leading the charge for municipalities locally,” Morissette said.

Nelson police say a man attacked two people downtown with bear spray on Wednesday afternoon. File photo
Two people attacked with bear spray in downtown Nelson: police

Police say the three people know each other

Rotary eClub of Waneta Sunshine, alongside members from the Kootenay Native Plant Society and Trail Wildlife Association, joined together for a day of planting at Fort Shepherd. The Waneta Sunshine eClub was granted funds through an Express Grant from District 5080 to plant 50 shrubs which support pollinator opportunities at Fort Shepherd. Photos: Submitted
Kootenay conservation partners plant pollinator ‘superfoods’ at Fort Shepherd

TLC welcomes community groups to Fort Shepherd who would like to help local ecosystems thrive

Harold and Sadie Holoboff are bringing great food and service to the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant at Champion Lakes Golf and Country Club. Photo: Jim Bailey
West Kootenay golf course welcomes father-daughter team to restaurant

Chef Harold Holoboff brings comfort food to another level at Champion Lakes Eagle’s Nest Restaurant

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read