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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Cyanocitta stelleri

Common Name:
Steller's Jay


Bitterroot Mountains, Idaho   September 20, 1805

Blue crested corvus of the piney country

This startling beautiful bird was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller, the German naturalist and Arctic explorer that discovered it along the Alaskan coast some 64 years before Lewis and Clark had their chance at "discovery."  This jay is easily recognized by the large crest on top of the head.  No other jay in the West carries a crest. 

The bird is fairly common today and under no present human threat. They are found from the Rocky mountains to the West coast, and from Mexico to Alaska, except in the driest regions. 

Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, September 20 1805--I have also observed two birds of a blue colour, both of which I believe to be of the haulk or vulture kind ...  more>>

References Gmelin, Johann Friedrich, In Carl von Linné's, Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Editio decima tertia, aucta reformata, cura J.F. Gmelin (1788-1793), Lipsiae, impensis G. E. Beer, 1788

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Steller's jay

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Steller's jay front view

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Steller's jay

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Steller's jay

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