Year-round residents of much of the mountainous west, Steller’s Jays (Passeriformes: Corvidae: Cyanocitta stelleri) are usually found in and around coniferous forests. Mating pairs build nests made from sticks, mud, moss, and leaves high in evergreen trees where they typically raise two to six chicks in one brood per year. They’re one of the most vocal animals in western mountain forests, and in addition to their own songs and calls they also mimic a wide variety of other animals.
These generalists forage on the ground for nuts, seeds, berries, insects, and even small vertebrates like bird hatchlings. Near backyards and campgrounds they will also dig through garbage and campsites and sometimes pester people for handouts. I found this individual scavenging for food around a picnic table and fire pit at the Newhalem Creek Campground at North Cascades National Park in Washington last month.