[Tweeters] Bald Steller's Jay

Susan Littlefield susan.littlefield at gmail.com
Tue Jun 21 15:02:30 PDT 2022

Hi folks! Long time no tweet.

I've got a Steller's Jay that's been visiting my yard for at least the past
four months that has observably and dramatically been losing its head
feathers. It started out with a noticeably sparse crest, then no crest,
then a creeping bald patch, and now it has no head or neck feathers at all.

Yesterday, I was finally able to snap a couple of photos of it, which you
can see here:

I've read everything I can about Steller's Jays and have seen nothing about
this kind of feather loss. I know Blue Jays (and Cardinals) do a full-head
molt, but this is not that. Not only is it the wrong species, but it's been
going on very gradually over many months, and no new feathers have

This bird seems to have a mate, and I believe they have nested this year.
It eats and drinks normally. The mate has no apparent feather loss.
Honestly, I'm stumped. I can't even find another photo online of a
Steller's Jay with this kind of "baldness."

I'd really appreciate it if someone with more specific scientific knowledge
than I have could help me out here. I don't know whether intervention would
be recommended, or whether I'm just going to watch this bird lose every
feather. Yikes.

Thanks in advance,
Susan Littlefield
Burien, WA
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