477. Blue Jay. Cyanocitta cristata cristata.
Range.–North America, east of the Plains and north to Hudson Bay; resident and very abundant in its United States range.
These beautiful and bold marauders are too well known to need description, suffice it to say that they are the most beautiful of North American Jays; but beneath their handsome plumage beats a heart as cruel and cunning as that in any bird of prey. In the fall, winter and spring, their food consists largely of acorns, chestnuts, berries, seeds, grain, insects, lizards, etc., but during the summer months they destroy and devour a great many eggs and young of the smaller birds, their taste for which, being so great that they are known to watch a nest until the full complement of eggs is laid before making their theft. They nest in open woods or clumps of trees, indifferently, in pines or young trees, building most often below twenty feet from the ground; the nests are made of twigs and rootlets, lined with fine rootlets. During May they lay from four to six eggs of a greenish buff color spotted with olive brown. Size 1.10 x .80.
477a. Florida Blue Jay. Cyanocitta cristata florincola.
Range.–Florida and the Gulf coast.
The nesting habits and eggs of this smaller sub-species are the same as those of the northern Blue Jay. Like our birds, they frequently nest near habitations.
478. Steller’s Jay. Cyanocitta stelleri stelleri.
Range.–Pacific coast from southern California to Alaska; resident and breeding throughout its range.
All the members of this sub-species are similar in plumage, having a sooty black head, crest and neck, shading insensibly into dark bluish on the back and underparts, and brighter blue on the wings and tail. They usually have a few streaks or spots of pale blue on the forehead. They are just as noisy, bold and thievish as the eastern Jay and are also excellent mimics like the latter. They nest in fir trees at any height from the ground and in April or May deposit their three to six greenish blue eggs which are spotted with various shades of brown. Size 1.25 x .90. Their nests are more bulky than those of the eastern Jay and are usually made of larger sticks and held together with some mud.
478a. Blue-fronted Jay. Cyanocitta stelleri frontalis.
Range.–Coast ranges of California and Oregon.
The nesting habits and eggs of this variety are indistinguishable from those of the preceding. The bird has more blue on the forehead.
478b. Long-crested Jay. Cyanocitta stelleri diademata.
Range.–Southern Rocky Mountains from Arizona to Wyoming.
No general difference can be found between the eggs of this species and the Steller Jay, and the nests of each are constructed similarly and in like situations.