May 212012
Steller's Jay Chicks

Steller's Jay Chicks

When I opened my front door to get the newspaper yesterday morning, I was greeted by two unexpected visitors right outside my door. They were two Steller’s Jay chicks who were as surprised as I was. They appeared to have some flight feathers but were not capable of flying quite yet. I was surprised that they did not immediately run away from me. Perhaps they hadn’t yet gotten the lesson about predators from their mom.

As I stooped to take a picture of them, three adult jays immediately flew down from the trees and started squawking franticly several yards away. No doubt they were trying to distract me away from the young ones. I stayed my distance from the chicks and encouraged them to walk toward the waiting adults.  I closed my door and the family of jays was gone shortly thereafter.

The Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is native to Washington and other Northwestern states. They are related to the blue jay but have differentiating features such as a black head and shoulders and a pronounced crested head. Found in a variety of forested habitats and open spaces in forest zones, the Steller’s Jay typically lives in groups of 10 or more. These jays usually lay their eggs from April to May so I assume that the ones that visited me, given their size, were born in April.