I am afraid our neighbors, the Corvids, have a bad rap and a bad rep. I must say I, for one, really enjoy having Steller’s Jays as neighbors. They are quiet at night. No fireworks, no drumming hip-hop, nor drunken yelling. They are socially complex and vociferous in daytime, never just sitting around, like, say, Mallards. They are very appreciative of their daily peanut servings. And they are great birders. Their screams today led me to this bird, right across the street from our house in Lithia Park: Click on pic for full screen image.A Barred Owl, not pleased with his Steller-enhanced publicity.
The Barred Owl is a relatively new arrival in Oregon. It was first noted here about forty years ago and is now widespread. The first California record is only from 1981. It is closely related to the endangered Spotted Owl with which it interbreeds producing the hybrid “Sparred” Owl offspring. Barred Owls are far more adaptable and survive in man-altered habitat far better than the Spotted. There is some fear that the Barred Owl’s success in the western U.S. will doom the Spotted Owl. A hundred years ago the Barred Owl was found only in the eastern portion of North America.