The WordPress update effort has put me slightly behind, but nothing a quick jump back to the Yellowstone pictures can’t fix. While we were out there, we came across this interesting bird. This was actually the first time I have ever seen this particular variety and it caught me off guard when I saw it walking across a picnic table. This is not my best effort in getting tack sharp photos, but it was a struggle to get it to stand still for even a second so I could zero in on it or attempt to focus through the branches. According the trusty Audubon guide this is a Steller’s Jay and member of the Jay and Crow family.
According to the field guide, this bird is on the brash side and mostly omnivorous. True to the description, it was indeed scrounging for food among the various groups picnicking in the area. From a visual perspective, it is quite stellar looking with a bright blue back offset by a black plumed head…. somewhat woodpecker looking with a different color pallet.
From this particular picture it is obvious our presence was intruding on his foraging. Okay, I admit it, my focus hand was shaking out of fear the bird was going to stab me with its beak and rip my eyeball out. What, you do not believe me? Take a look at this shot smarty pants and tell me if this isn’t one pissed off bird.
Oh yeah, his meat instincts are kicking into high gear. I decided from that point on that all further pictures would stealth shots outside its vision. Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this quite interesting bird
Looks like Mr. Jay’s stern look has not scared you away. Per my admission, here is a shot from a safe position.
As you can tell, it has a nice blue hue that covers the back feathers which tends to stick out among the greenery during the daylight hours. This lack of cover leads me to the assumption he is pretty aggressive and does not have many enemies in the region. Or, his crow/raven cousins give him muscle when he needs it. Interesting enough, as the sun sets, he does get very difficult to see in the trees. Linda and I had hiked up to Nymph Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park which ended up being a healthy trek up a hill. While there, the sun ended up diving below the treeline which was making for some nice glass lake shots. While packing up I notice another one of these birds bouncing between the pine branches. Not only did I have difficulty actually tracking the bird, only one of those pictures actually came out (below). I actually kind of like the deep rich colors and you can tell it was starting to rain on us.
Yes, another shot taken from safety. Well, I hope you enjoyed my new addition to my bird picture collection. While on vacation, I was extremely productive adding at least 7 new birds to my portfolio. As long as I keep procrastinating on my posts, there is a good chance you will see all of them before the end of the year!
Anyway, back to sneaking up on the Steller’s. Oh crap, he apparently caught wind of me.
4 thoughts on “That is One Steller Jay”
What beautiful birds! I’ve never seen a Stellar Jay. Maybe a birding logbook would be a good Christmas present for you…
Beautiful? by any chance did you look closely at this bird’s expression – he (or possibly she) looks like one pissed off bird – evil beady eyes, sharp lethal beak and eye gouging talons. I’m telling you, this Jay is ready to kick some hay in your face. I am actually working on a project along the logbook lines – as opposed to the standard log, I plan to cut out a lot of squares on a large matte. This will allow me to put my favorite (or only if it was a luck shot) picture on display with the name of the bird under it – If I have not “shot” that particular bird yet, I might put a filler “Coming Soon” image in it until I hunt it down. It is still in the planning phase while I decide if I want to spend the money to buy a proper matte cutter or freehand it with an exacto which I’ve had to do many times lately. Thanks for the comment and watch your back or this Steller is going to strike!