There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Steller's Jay

Cyanocitta stelleri

Black head and crest
Blue body, wings and tail
Strong, black bill

Listen to its song.
These birds like to hang out behind our garden shed for some reason. This one was trying to avoid getting his picture taken today, hiding behind the leaves and jumping from branch to branch every time I got a clear shot. Unfortunately (for the bird), it's hard to hide such striking plumage.

I've read that Steller's Jays have complex social hierarchies and dominance patterns. During fights, these birds will grasp each other with their feet and peck at each other with their bills... while in flight.  And they look like such nice birds!

Learn more about the Steller's Jay.

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