Blue Jay

Cyanocitta cristata
Range Map

Those of us who spend most of our time on the west coast don’t get to spend with this iconic jay. Given their bold nature and bright plumage, it will surprise no one that it was among the first bird species to capture the imagination of the earliest Europeans to arrive in North American in the sixteenth century.

Today, taxonomists recognise four subspecies of Blue Jay:

  • C. c. bromia lives from eastern British Columbia and across Canada to the Maritime Provinces and south through much of the mid-western USA and east to the Appalachian states of the Atlantic Seaboard.
  • C. c. cristata lives from southern Missouri east through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia to North Carolina and south from southeastern Texas along the Gulf Coast to northern and central Florida.
  • C. c. semplei lives in southern Florida.
  • C. c. cyanotephra lives in southeastern Wyoming and Nebraska, south through eastern Colorado, western Kansas, and from Oklahoma to northern Texas.

It was not until my epic 16,000-mile expedition through western North America, that I met this bird at the northwestern limit of its summer breeding range.

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