Stellar's Jay - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Stellars Jay" Colored Pencil

Perched in a conifer forest at 8,200 feet, a solitary Stellar's Jay contemplates its familiar surroundings. Unassuming and reticent near home, this intelligent bird takes on a much different public persona. When on the search for food it reveals itself by squawking boisterously. Now bold and confident, the Stellar's Jay will bully the smaller birds away from its favorite feeding areas. This bird can become one of the forest's more raucous, year-round residents. When hiking, I've often found myself on the receiving  end of an unprovoked scolding.

A striking appearance reflects the Stellar's Jay's obnoxious behavior. Its blue plumage is accented by dark bars of color, creating an interesting pattern on its wings and tail. A large, unkempt crest of feathers adorns the bird's head. From this distinct crest a beautiful gradient of dark Indigo Black blends down through the head and chest into the True Blue coloring of the belly. Unique to the Jays in this region are streaks of bright white on the face and chin that define the dark eyes and beak.

Stellar's Jays have found their niche in the Subalpine zone between 6,000 and 8,000 feet. I frequently see them in the trees on Bergen Peak, especially in the transition area where forest meets meadow. These birds symbolize intelligence and because it is thought that they mate for life, fidelity. Christian tradition also uses the bird to symbolize the human soul representing joy and goodness.


  1. Oh, I love Jays! And you have captured this one so elegantly. Where I lived in the mountains of Southern CA, we saw evidence of their mating for life as one "couple" would return, year after year, to build their nest under our eaves. Thank you for your insights into these beautiful creatures.

    1. Thanks, Donna. They are an elegant bird that is kind of obnoxious but I like them. I like their Blue coloring. We have not seen them as much this summer for some reason. We are seeing Magpies in their place also a pretty bird and just as obnoxious.


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