Beautiful Blues of the West – The Western Scrub Jay

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One of my favorite birds on out mountain in New Mexico and roughly 11 inches in length, the Western Scrub Jay is the ONLY ONE OF TWO large blue birds without a crest in the western United States, the other being a Pinon Jay.  Sporting a gorgeous blue head, wings, tail and breast band, they have a brownish patch on their back along with a dull white chin, breast, and belly.  They also have a remarkably long tail.

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These birds are found in pinon-juniper woodland and also backyards, pastures, and orchards. They are usually observed at lower and drier habitats than Steller’s Jays, although not always.  In fact, recently, I’ve seen more of the Western Scrub Jays than the Steller’s Jay at our little slice of heaven up at 7600 feet in altitude.

Scrub Jays store their food by burying it for later consumption and are believed to be a significant distributor of oaks and pines as a result of not returning to eat the seeds they previously buried.

Interesting Fact: Scrub Jays, upon finding a dead jay, will appear to have a “funeral” by screeching over the body and attracting other jays.

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