Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steller's Jay and Stellar Jays - Picture of the Week

You can almost check the seasons by the flocks of birds in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area.  This week, I noticed the Steller's Jays working their way around the house and took a moment away from my leaf raking to snap this picture.  The contrast between the autumn leaves and the Jay's deep blue to midnight black plumage is startling.  These birds hop around from branch to branch a lot so this picture was the best I could do.

It wasn't all good news, in the backyard, I also found a few features left over, no doubt, from an encounter with a house cat.  One of these was scanned and is shown above.

I was also surprised and disappointed to learn that I had been calling this bird by the wrong name for years.  It was like one of those moments, like when you realize that you have been singing out the wrong song lyrics for years, like the Hendrix  "Purple Haze" lyric  "Scuse will I kiss this guy". A little shocked and embarrassed  I have always called this bird a Stellar Jay - please let me explain.

With a colouration that begins dark blue at the feet and the changes into a midnight black at the head I always thought this bird was named "Stellar" to conjure up a poetic image of the earth's stratosphere turning into space and stars.

Not so.  Apparently it was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller a German naturalist who discovered (?) them.  It is also called the Pine Jay, Mountain Jay and the Long Crested Jay but for me, sorry, I'd like to stick with...the Stellar Jay and hope that someday it can be renamed.  It is the provincial bird of British Columbia after all; can't the province look into a more appropriate name? No disrespect intended Georg.

Imagine living  here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve

    I think it was given other names by locals when they kept getting into the fruit and ruining it.. and I don't think they were bird names.


    I had to post as anonymous - the url didn't work