[Tweeters] Unusual Steller's Jay - Redtails courting

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 5 00:21:31 PST 2015

I have a large group of Steller's Jays that come to my deck every day to feast on peanuts, milo, corn and sunflower seeds - there are sometimes as many as 20 on the deck at a time and usually 8-12 throughout the day along with 2-4 Western Scrub Jays. For the past 3 days there has been an unusual Steller's early in the day. The bird is a tan/brown color with only a peak of dark blue/black on the crest and white streaks over the eye. The bird behaves normally and gets along with the flock. Size, patterning, call are all typical for the species. I'm guessing a genetic aberration or the result of a skin disease (like severe mite infestation) when the bird was in the nest. I'm content just to watch him/her and see if he/she pairs up later in the spring.
The spring-fall resident Redtail pair has shown up and are showing lots of courting behave including spectacular aerial acrobatics, close passes, and lots and lots and lots of very loud calling. Today I saw the male carrying a stick to the nest that has been in use for at least 3 years - housekeeping. It is fun to be able to identify this pair by their coloration and markings (female very light except for a very dark chest band - male a beautiful red with strange black wing tips and dark mottling on the chest). Lets hope for another batch of 3 (or more!) chicks as they have proven to be very successful and attentive parents.

Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

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