The Elusive Blue Jay

During this visit to Colorado I noted that there had been several local sightings of Blue Jays, a bird I had never seen. Naturally, I keyed my birding adventures those three days to places where they had recently been sighted. Not unexpectedly, the closest I came to see a flash of blue feathers was a Great Blue Heron and a Belted Kingfisher, which I can easily find down the hill from me at home.

Resigned to not seeing a Blue Jay this visit, either, I went to the grandkids’ mile race on Thursday morning and took my camera to record their efforts. I had just finished photographing the final race and was sitting on a large rock waiting for the final awards when something raucous called to me from a large tree nearby.


It didn’t take but an instant to realize that since I had given up looking for the Blue Jay it had come looking for me, instead.

It even briefly glanced back to confirm I had seen it.


I had. I’d already walked around the other side of the tree and waited to see if it would appear.


In the end I think I got a shot of every side of the bird except from the classic angle


that best shows those tail feathers.


I might have eventually got that shot, too, but, being the dutiful grandfather that I am, I left the jay to its own devices when I heard the 5th-grade awards being announced. As it turned out, I ended up being on the wrong side to get a decent shot of Zoe getting her medal, but such is the luck of the casual photographer.

Of course, it didn’t help when I went online a few days later and saw that Shelley Powers (Burningbird) had posted a beautiful shot of a Blue Jay on her fountain before I could post my shots.

4 thoughts on “The Elusive Blue Jay”

  1. I thought I’d seen blue jays galore in my life, but never this kind of white-tinged bluer-than-blue Blue Jay. A close cousin, I can only assume, to the ubiquitous jays that cause such a racket and regularly drive smaller birds off my feeders here in NorCal, yes?

    1. Same family, different species.

      I think you see both the Scrub Jay and the Stellar Jay where you live, though more of the Scrub Jay. Here in the Pacific Northwest we see more of the Stellar Jay (which was called a “Blue Jay” locally when I was growing up).

  2. I grew up with Blue Jays, and never thought much about them, other than once being attacked by one – why, I’m not sure, I was about 10 and don’t remember being close to a tree where there might have been a nest. Other than that, I took them for granted. Then a few years ago, I began to hear reports of increased mortality due toe West Nile Disease, and realized I was seeing fewer Blue Jays. That’s when I began noticing the ones I did see, and appreciating them for the beautiful birds they are. I’m happy to say that they seem to have recovered here, and I see them all the time. And I don’t take them for granted any longer.

    1. I’m afraid all of us, me included, have that tendency, Harry. I took Stellar Jays for granted and thought they were a Blue Jay until I noticed that they were much rarer in other parts of the country.

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