Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in Ophir Canyon

/, Ophir Canyon, Tooele County, Utah, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jays/Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in Ophir Canyon

A Western Scrub-Jay eating snowA Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay eating snow – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I saw some sunshine yesterday and I photographed some birds! A couple Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in Ophir Canyon Road in Tooele County were the most cooperative of the jays that I found. One of the jays was perched on a pinyon pine that had some snow on the boughs and as I watched and photographed it I could see it eating some of the snow. The temps were below freezing and any water nearby was frozen so the snow provided the jay with a drink.

Western Scrub-Jay perched on a snow covered Pinyon PineWoodhouse’s Scrub-Jay perched on a snow covered Pinyon Pine – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

There were about 6 to 8 Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay flying into the junipers and pines on the side of the canyon but this one seemed to like its piney perch because it flew off and almost immediately landed in the same place. I took way too many images of this one bird!

A Western Scrub-Jay and JunipersA Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay and Junipers – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

One of the other Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay popped up on the top of a juniper even further away but I couldn’t resist photographing it despite knowing the jay would be small in the frame and I am glad I ignored that little voice in my head saying “its too far away” because I quite like this image of the gray and blue jay with the junipers in the background and the juniper branch the that jay perched on that shows the juniper berries. The scrub-jays do eat the juniper berries in winter so that might have been why they were in this location.

I don’t know if the scrub-jays appreciated the sun shining on them yesterday but I do know that I sure did after going through so many gray days.

Life is good.


Western Scrub-Jays became Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays in July of 2016


  1. Patty Chadwick January 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    There’s a small American Holly tree just outside my bedroom window. Many birds like to perch there before swooping down to the sunflower feeder hanging from a big maple. Sometimes I see them eating snow from the Holly’s leaves and somehimes I see them drinking maple sap leaking from twigs the squirrels have nipped off. The tree is a “soda fountain” for hungry, thirsty squirrels and birds.

  2. Patty Chadwick January 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    The subtle blues and grays of this bird are beautiful…I especially like the second shot–where the bird is framed by the evergreen branches and the blue is more visible…

  3. Elephant's Child January 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I am very glad you and the jays got some sunshine. Feel free to have ours.

  4. Utahbooklover January 18, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Eating the snow is a beautiful image, and the juniper berries composition is lovely too, but I think the scrub jay surrounded by the snow covered pinyon pine is the winner.

  5. Liz Cormack January 18, 2016 at 9:03 am

    What a beautiful bird! Thank you, Mia.

  6. Bob Mcpherson January 18, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. The Jays are a pleasure for photography.

  7. Stephen leonard January 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I get a lot of scrubs by my place and really enjoy them
    They are aggressive on a feeder’, sometimes just spewing the black sunflower seeds all over the place.
    Great pics, live the juniper background too.

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