Bird Species Profile: Steller’s Jay

The Steller's Jay is a beautiful bird species that lives in the mountainous areas of the Western US and Canada as well as in Central America.

I tend to have a bit of a biased towards picking species from the Eastern US since that is where I live and have the best photos from, so I decided to head west this time and pick one of my favorite bird species from the mountains of the western US, the Steller’s Jay.

Bird Species Profile: Steller's JayRob Ripma
Rob Ripma One of the best places to find and photograph Steller’s Jays is in campgrounds and picnic areas. They tend to be rather tame in both locations.

In the US, there are two forms of Steller’s Jay that look just a little different from each other. The coastal form has a totally black head, but the interior form has some white on the head near the bill and above the eye. Once you reach the right elevation (mostly above 3,000 ft) this species becomes rather common. They are attracted to campgrounds and picnic areas in the mountains and will take whatever food might be left out!

Not only can this species be found in the US and Canada, its range extends all the way down to northwestern Nicaragua. I always find it fascinating to see a species that I am very familiar with in the US living in more tropical climates.

This jay also has a LOT of personality which makes it a very fun species to photograph!

Bird Species Profile: Steller's JayRob Ripma
Rob Ripma It was pretty funny to watch this Steller’s Jay get it’s feathers blown around in the wind. It sure makes it look like it has a huge crest!

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.