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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Steller's Jay -- Cyanocitta stelleri


RANGE: Resident from south-coastal and southeastern Alaska to southwestern Alberta south to southern California, Arizona, central New Mexico, Central America, and western Texas, and east to western Montana and western Nebraska.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Generally inhabits coniferous forests throughout its range, but occasionally occurs in mixed and deciduous woodlands, and ventures into orchards and gardens. Is especially frequent in the ponderosa pine zone but limited numbers occur in the pinyon-juniper and spruce-fir zones. Favors edges of forest openings over extensive, unbroken woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Predominately coniferous woodlands.

NEST: Usually builds nest on a horizontal branch of a conifer from 8 to 40 feet, but up to 100 feet, above the ground. Occasionally locates nest in a shrub or tree cavity.

FOOD: Usually forages on the ground and in trees for seeds, nuts, acorns, fruits, insects, spiders, and bird eggs and nestlings.

REFERENCES: Gibson in Farrand 1983b, Goodwin 1976, Johnsgard 1979, Wilmore 1977.


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