Nature around campus

The California Scrub-Jay is identified by its dark blue, and grey coat that is mistaken by most people as a Blue Jay–a native species of birds from the Midwest– scrub Jays are classified as common birds from California, Mexico, and Southern British Columbia.

Scrub-Jays have a loud piercing call that is unmistakable, like a harsh screeching. They move around frequently, hopping and jumping in trees or on the ground.

Scrub-Jays can be found along the coast to the tip of Baja California, and across the Central Valley in suburban or forested areas. A few have even been found in the western Mojave desert in the Pinyon pine woodlands. Scrub Jays favor oak scrub, woodlands, or dense brush.

Scrub-Jays eat both insects and fruit during the Spring and Summer months. Meanwhile in Winter and Fall Scrub-Jays eat mostly nuts, acorns, and other seeds. To open an acorn Scrub-Jays hold the nut between their feet, pecking at it with their beak firmly.

Nesting sites for Scrub jays occur in oak trees or hidden behind brush, branches, and vegetation. Scrub-Jays form mating pairs that last all year long to guard their breeding territory against other Scrub-Jays in the area. During, the Fall and Winter flocks of “freeloader”, also known as “floater” birds form flocks of thirty or less.

Common relatives of California Scrub-Jays are Stellar Jays found nearby in Sequoia National park, the Canada Jay, the Florida Scrub-Jay, and finally Blue Jays.

So, keep your eyes open for this rowdy bird.