I have seen Stellar’s pecking on a wooden bench and a wooden porch rail lots of times over the 20 years we’ve lived in this house. I thought they were “imitating” crows pounding on peanuts in the same locations.
A few minutes ago a family of Scrub-jays showed up and started to toss around the “mulch” under the squirrel feeder and the tray feeder nearby. Shortly after, a Stellar’s flew in and also started to toss around mulch. Could be “whatever works” or could be monkey-see-monkey-do.
Jays and crows are endless entertainment, bless ‘em.
From: Andy Thomas (Redacted sender "adt0611" for DMARC)
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 5:08 PM
To: OBOL Oregon Birders Online
Subject: [obol] Steller's Tricksters
I was fooled twice today by Steller's Jays. While walking my dogs on a wooded trail I heard a Red-tailed Hawk-call above me. My first thought was Steller's because of the venue, but it was so loud and clear I started looking for a hawk. Sure enough, there were 2 STJAs in an understory tree nearby.
Then a little farther on I heard a woodpecker foraging directly above me -- loud, slow, irregular knocks. I leaned against a maple tree to steady my geezer-self while looking straight up. There were many possibilities, but by chance, the tree I was touching vibrated with the pecking, so I could narrow my search. I expected to find a Pileated Woodpecker, but what I saw was a Steller's Jay moving along a branch and pecking woodpecker-style.
I know about St Jay's Red-tail mimic call, but I've never heard of one "mimicking" a woodpecker. (I know; it was not actually mimicking anything.) Is this common or usual foraging behavior for a Steller's Jay?