This is a Stellar’s Jay, a close cousin of the Blue Jay, commonly found in the western United States.
Julian–my eight year old son–and I were snow shoeing up the Muir Trail past Vernal Falls in a storm (read the earlier story).
Somewhere above the lower falls we got tired of the snow blowing in our faces, and found a cave for a dry rest and a snack. The cave consisted of a big flat rock, with snow for the side walls, and earth on the ground.
We pulled off our packs, and removed our snow shoes. Julian ripped into a package of BBQ potato chips. A few crumbs fell on the ground, and this greedy critter swooped in for the tasty treat. (If you look closely you can see a bit of chip under one of the bird’s talons.)
What happiness! It’s not every dad who gets to share snacks with his son and an elegant bird in a cave protected from the swirling snow.
Also I wonder at the color of this bird…could the bird have something to do with the blue feather I found in Boulder? Might this all be totemic, or what?