California Scrub-Jay

The California scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica) is a species of scrub jay in the Corvidae family. It is native to western North America and ranges from southern British Columbia throughout California and western Nevada near Reno to west of the Sierra Nevada. The California scrub jay is nonmigratory and can be found in urban areas, where it can become tame and will come to bird feeders. While many refer to scrub jays as “blue jays”, the blue jay is a different species of bird entirely.

True to its name, the California scrub jay inhabits areas of low scrub, preferring pinon-juniper forests, oak woods, and edges of mixed evergreen forests. It also inhabits suburban gardens.

California scrub jays usually forage in pairs, family groups, or small non-kin groups, outside of the breeding season. They feed on small animals, such as frogs and lizards, eggs and young of other birds, insects, and (particularly in winter) grains, nuts, and berries. They will also eat fruit and vegetables growing in backyards.

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