California Scrub-Jay visits us in Tacoma, WA area – LOVES peanuts!!

Scrub Jay Loves Peanuts
Scrub Jay Trying to Pick Out the Largest Peanut

Starting about 2 weeks ago (beginning of September 2016), we’ve had California Scrub-Jays visiting our backyard.  We’ve been feeding Stellar Jays peanuts for years, but this is the first time we’ve had any regular Scrub-Jays.  Last autumn, we had a timid one, for a few weeks, but he never took to getting peanuts.

This year, we have a pair, one is smaller, so it may be a parent and a child.  I’m not sure if there’s any size difference between the sexes.  Anyone know?California Scrub Jay Foraging Peanuts

They are gregarious and friendly, and were unafraid of me photographing them out in the open.  I was surprised that they were so outgoing, since they are so new to my backyard, while the stellar jays that we’ve had around for years, are hesitant when I change my behavior at all.

They are also very vocal, constantly chatting when foraging or pretty much all morning long!  A bit annoying, not at all pleasant — makes it hard to ignore them!  They will hang out right outside my window and even fly onto my porch!

California Scrub Jay with Peanuts in Tacoma WA Backyard

We’re actually in Lakewood, WA, and I don’t believe that these birds are really that uncommon in Washington State — I think I saw one near Point Defiance a few years ago — but it’s so lovely to have some new regular backyard birds to our feeders.

In addition to feasting on peanuts, they also enjoy sunflower seeds.  We have this hanging platform feeder, and they do eat off of it.

Scientific Side Note: What also makes this bird interesting, is the recent news that the Western Scrub-Jay is being split into two different species, the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii).  See this article: Taxonomy Update for 2016

Have you seen these near you?  Any experiences to share?


  1. Thanks for this! I spotted one in Lakewood today near Southgate Elementary And wasn’t sure what kind of bird this was.

  2. Yup, got two in my backyard daily. I think they have a home in one of my 20 foot tall “Italian” shrub trees. I’m located near Pacific and S 60th in South Tacoma. They’re awesome to look at. And, yes, they bring peanuts and i find peanuts all over in my garden beds. 🙂 Good idea, I’ll set up a feeder so we can watch them everyday! 🙂

  3. I just saw a California Scrub Jay feeding from our suet feeder 15 minutes ago! (about 6:15 pm) for 2 minutes before flying into our Boulevard Cypress tree.
    I was hoping to hear his call which is a very familiar call to me as I used to live in California.
    We live in Federal Way, zip 98003, about 1/2 mile from Federal Way High school.
    This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Scrub Jay here- I didn’t even know they are in Washington!
    I looked them up in our Sibley’s bird book and discovered they can be seen here.
    I’ll keep a sharp eye for these jays and hope to see it again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *