Steller’s Jay Fledglings Rescued after Predator Attacks

Voted as BC’s official bird in 1987, Steller’s Jays are known for their beautiful blue colour on their wings and the unique black plume of feathers on their heads. These birds are a staple of the West and frequent visitors in campgrounds, parks, and picnic grounds.

Steller’s Jays live in dense forests, mountains, and suburbs with small woods. Their primary food sources are nuts and acorns – which they open by hitting their bills – and find high in trees and occasionally on the ground. Steller’s Jays will also eat berries, wild fruit, insects such as beetles and bees. Steller’s Jays are opportunists and will steal from other birds or keep an eye for handouts from people.

Fortunately, these magnificent birds are generally adaptive, and their population has continued to grow since the 70s. But threats such as urbanization, human disturbances, predator attacks, and natural challenges lead to trouble. The Steller’s Jay has learned to hang around campsites and picnic grounds to scavenge for crumbs on the ground. Sadly, foraging on the ground leaves them more vulnerable to cat attacks – attacks that account for nearly a billion bird deaths each year.

Recently, three Steller’s Jay fledglings have been admitted to Wildlife Rescue due to predator attacks and nest disturbances. These fledglings are in the important stage to learn to fly, self-feed, and navigate the wild, however; these challenges prevent their journey to continue in the wild.   Nevertheless, these cases are preventable with some simple adjustments.

Many birds are harmed each year due to predator attacks – birds such as Steller’s Jays are often hurt after being ambushed by a cat when foraging on ground-level. Fledgling Steller’s Jays are even more vulnerable, they spent time on the ground learning how to fly. You can help prevent predator attacks in your yard!

  • Keep both your cat and wild birds safe by keeping your cat indoors. Away from the risk of being struck by cars, attacked by wildlife and other pets, and deadly diseases, indoor cats live a much longer life than outdoor cats.
  • Equipping your cats with colourful collars and loud bells help warn wandering birds of these cats. The loud noise of the bells combined with the bright collar will allow birds to fly away from the potential threat before they get hurt.
  • Creating an incentive for our cats to stay inside is also a helpful tool since many cats roam outside due to boredom in their homes.
  • Creating dynamic environments for our cats is one way we can reduce the amount of time they spend outside – therefore lowering the number of cat attacks.
  • Containing the area in which cats wander outside also reduces attacks. By creating enclosed cat-friendly patios and porches, cats will get the outside time they need while also staying in a certain area.

We can also support Steller’s Jays in our own backyards!

We can also support these birds by planting bushes. Creating shelter for these birds is another way to help these unique birds – planting bushes that provide shelter will assist them in their fight for survival.

Of course, protecting injured birds is a great way to help. If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Call Wildlife Rescue’s Support Centre at 604-526-7275. To help us return your call quickly, please leave your contact information and observation.

Preventing cat attacks and keeping Steller’s Jays safe is a simple way to protect your environment and help these species thrive.

Help vulnerable species thrive today!


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