California Scrub Jay (CASJ)

This is the brazen squawker most non-birders out west call “Bluejay.” (Click here to see a real Blue Jay, denizen of the East Coast, photo by Brian Kushner.) Ours is the bold, scolding bird that bedevils outdoor cats  during nesting season (as well they should) and will even come into your house if there’s food to be stolen. Put peanuts in a feeder and California (formerly “Western”) Scrub-Jays can be observed stashing them for later consumption. Intelligent and ever-present, scrubjays are also nest-robbers, taking eggs and even hatchlings to feed themselves and their own young. That’s nature for you. 

The Steller’s Jay is a beefier cousin, found at higher elevations, in pine forest. Not quite as bold, noisy or prone to thievery, the STJA is still a Jay and will come close enough for a good view.