WARNING – Photo below that some might find unpleasant!!!
Steller’s Jays are one of the easiest birds to identify in the West. Their black head and crest with blue bodies are obvious. This one is foraging in my backyard. It might be a juvenile since its crest doesn’t look quite as big as most of the Steller’s Jays I see around here.
The Steller’s Jay found something to eat and then flew with it to this branch. See how it is holding it down with its foot? According to The National Audubon Society’s The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, they hold the food down while pounding on it with the tip of their bill.
Steller’s Jays don’t just eat plants though. They are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. Below is a photo taken by my friend Jeff in his backyard. A Steller’s Jay landed on this bird house that had House Sparrows inside. It poked its beak inside and ripped this unfortunate chick out of the nest.
It obviously didn’t eat it, but the damage was done. I’m not sure what is holding on to it, but this is certainly a sign that life for young animals can be very dangerous.