Western Scrub-jay


The Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica), or Chara pechirrayada in Spanish, is most abundant in oak woodland and native chaparral where they feed heavily on acorns. During the spring and summer, you’ll find the Western Scrub-Jay dining on the plentiful insects and fruit as well as robbed eggs from other birds’ nests. However, in the fall and winter the Western Scrub-Jay relies on nuts and seeds storing any excess for future use. In response to wildfires, the Western Scrub-Jay will fly away, and return once the scrub oaks mature enough to provide adequate supplies of acorns.

Did you know? Western Scrub-Jays have been seen hitching a ride on the backs of Mule Deer. The scrub-jays pick off parasites and the deer don’t mind one bit. 

To learn more about the Western Scrub-Jay, and other birds of our region, please visit the San Diego County Bird Atlas.

PHOTO CREDIT: B. Moose Peterson / WRP