Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bowen Island Garden Birds - Steller's Jay, Crow and a Turkey Vulture

June 17, Bowen Island, BC. A Turkey Vulture flew overhead while I was sitting in our friends' garden. Turkey vultures fly frequently over our house in Tucson and I was pleased to see this one in BC. I believe this is an American Crow. I saw many crows throughout BC as we drove through the province. I 'm still not sure how to tell the difference between a crow and a raven unless they're side by side. (Suggestions are welcome.)Steller's and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests. When I first saw this Steller's Jay, I was impressed with how vividly coloured it was with its coal black crest and face and bright blue breast and back. I learned that this is the coastal form. The Steller's Jays we have in the Arizona mountains are the inland form, with a black crest, grey face and shoulders, blue on its back and a pale blue breast.
When this jay flew onto the feeder it would cause havoc, chasing away the smaller birds, squawking loudly and feeding voraciously as it rushed from opening to opening while seed flew out every which way.


chiefbiscuit said...

What a character that jay looks! I love the way his crest gives him a 'just outta bed' look! Great photos - again!

Laura said...

The coloring of the Steller's Jay really captures my imagination! I'd never, ever seen one before, so thank you for enlightening me!

robin andrea said...

The Steller's Jay chase all the little birds from our feeder as well. Fortunately, they move on in late fall and don't return until spring. They do have voracious appetites.

tai haku said...

nice jay pics Pam. I use the size of the bill (huge on raven) to tell the difference between crows and ravens but then "our" crows are different to "yours".

how are you enjoying "Last chance to see"? - Its a really nice read (especially to read 20 odd years further on knowing how things have turned out) but too short - I wanted more!

Pam in Tucson said...

chiefbiscuit - I like your analogy of "just outta bed." This little fellow certainly wasn't getting any prizes for his grooming abilities.

laura - Aren't they beautiful? I've never seen such vivid colour in a jay.

robin andrea - I imagine jays can be a great nuisance. We tend to perceive some of the larger birds at our feeders as bullies. We get inundated by doves and put protectors on some of our feeders so the little birds can get their share.

tai haku - I know ravens from The Tower and would recognize them in England. But these crows seemed to me so much larger than English crows. I'm enjoying "Last Chance to See". I understand Douglas Adams (who is one of my favourite authors - esp. the Dirk Gently books) thought it was his most important book. Some reviewers thought the book was hilarious, but I think the humour is quiet and understated - just enough to keep the reader engaged and focused on the various endangered animals and birds they visited. I, too, would have liked more, and I'm surprised there weren't more photos. You've spurred me now to look up each one and find out what's happened 20 years later.