I swore vengeance, and for the next week felled any blue jay that came within the range of my b-b-gun. Fortunately, I realized that my reaction needed tempering and shortly curtailed that program.
Years later, after putting out mixed bird seed for the spring return of chickadees, wrens, goldfinches, towhees, and various other breeds, I spotted a pair of Steller's Jays on a branch watching the smaller bird species pecking at the treats. I remembered a friend from the 1950s—when I lived in Redondo Beach—who had one jay conditioned to swooping in for a peanut he had thrown into the air. However, I simply wanted to try and bring one or both down to the deck. To that end, I went into the kitchen and grabbed four unsalted peanuts. Returning to the deck, I thumped it hard three times to get the jays' attention, and then unshelled the goobers—laying them out for the crested jays to spot. I then took a chair eight feet distant and waited.
Only one of the royal-blue feathered birds flew down and cautiously took the most distant legume. Over the next few days, that singular jay came to the railing while its mate hung out on a nearby oak. By the second week, the more daring jay came closer and closer as I moved the peanuts nearer to where I sat, albeit always remaining beyond eighteen inches. Still, I believed the jay earned the moniker, Brazen.
Come winter, even if the less colorful scrub jays remained in the area, the stellers moved to more fruitful feeding areas. I suspect to forage along the coast. Nevertheless, both jays returned the following spring. That pattern continues—now into its third season.
Occasionally Brazen even gets uppity by calling me out early in the morning. Whereas I had conditioned him in the beginning, he now conditions me. Come on out and give me some peanuts he seems to be telling me. And when I do, he chortles a thank you, quickly downs the treats and then heads for the trees. The only time he avoids the deck occurs when crows move in and raise a ruckus. I guess the two species, even if in the same taxonomic family branch, don't kowtow to each other's company. Well, people act the same sometimes.
An internet search informs that Steller's Jays are usually monogamous, monomorphic (hard to tell the sex by appearance alone), and omnivorous. In a great western swath, they range from south Alaska into Mexico. Yet, my Brazen likes San Luis Obispo's north county spring thru fall and has a penchant for peanuts. We abide one another. I hope he knows that he'll never see the barrel of my b-b-gun.