At Flea Market Gardening, we love birds! In our albums we have collected, there are many photos of the ones in our backyards, from humble sparrows to brilliant cardinals. And what better time than Winter for watching them? We also have an album dedicated to birdhouses and feeders for your enjoyment!
This first in a series, is on Steller’s Jay, an interesting bird from California.
It’s a sign
Cold weather is here. Steller’s jay, Cyanocitta stelleri, with its black head and upper body is one of only two species in the genus Cyanocitta, the other species being the Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata, found throughout the Central and Eastern United States. We only see these stunning birds when it’s very cold here in the foothills of Central California.
Our Western scrub jays, one is below, Aphelocoma californica, are much different with their crestless heads and grey underbodies. Their home is our oak woodlands and also chaparral near the Western coast as well as suburban backyards all over the Western United States.
Steller’s Jays were discovered on an Alaskan island in 1741 by Georg Steller, a naturalist on a Russian explorer’s ship. Forty years later they were named after him along with his other discoveries including the Steller’s sea lion and Steller’s Sea-Eagle.
Their range is from British Columbia in North America to Nicaragua in Central America and they are usually found in higher altitude pine forests. In autumn, flocks often visit oak woodlands when acorns are ripe.
Here near Yosemite, they live close to the campgrounds there and know that there are bird feeders there and picnic crumbs. Here at 3000 ft in the foothills, we only see them in the late fall and winter as the Black oaks turn gold or when it is very cold or snowy in the high country. Plenty of acorns this year.
What birds do you particularly like to watch in your backyard?