Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

Western scrub jay | Photo credit: Msulis

The Western scrub jay is a member of the Corvidae family to which various crows, ravens, and jays belong. Like its fellow corvids, the western scrub jay exhibits a loud, harsh call and enjoys a varied diet of insects, seeds, carrion, and fruit. Birdfeeders stocked with peanuts in the shell, dried corn kernels, and black oil sunflower seeds can attract these birds for leisurely viewing.

Western scrub jays measure up to eleven inches in length and are characterized by blue above with a white eyebrow and throat, a grayish-white underside, and a band of gray-brown on the back and behind the eyes. A year-round resident throughout West and Central Texas, the western scrub jay inhabits scrub oak and juniper woodlands as well as wooded suburban areas.

Often heard before they are seen, western scrub jays are easily observed throughout West Texas and the Edwards Plateau region. Parks such as Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Lost Maples State Natural Area, and Choke Canyon State Park, among others, reliably offer encounters with these vocal and attractive birds.

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