Considered to be the most intelligent of birds, this family of birds which includes crows, ravens, jays, magpies and nutcrackers, has demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests and tool making abilities.


Black-billed Magpie perched on a branch.Black Billed Magpie Dismissed as irritating by many because of their loud harsh voices, these corvids have beautiful irridescent feathers and one of the longest tails of any North American bird. Magpies are highly intelligent, able to survive by eating anything from insects to carrion,  bold enough to tease large birds such as the Great Horned Owl and skilled at imitating other birds, cats and dogs.






Common Raven in flight.Common Raven  Renowned for its intelligence, this large corvid doesn't act by instinct alone, displaying the ability to learn and solve complex problems.  A common inhabitant of the western and northern United States and Canada, it can survive many exteme environments, eating anything from seeds to carrion. Ravens aren't real social - usually seen alone or in pairs, but they mate for life.


Cyanocitta stelleriStellars Jay With a raucous shak-shak-shak and a flash of its bright blue plumage, this unmistakeable resident of the Western slope announces its arrival. Both females and males sport magnificent, glossy black crests and are devoted parents, staying with their young well into winter. These jays usually nest in coniferous forests. If you see one, there are probably a few more nearby, as they prefer to travel in small cohesive flocks.


Gray Jay perched in spruce tree.Grey Jay One of the boldest of the Rocky Mountain Birds, Gray Jays are also aptly called Camp Robbers. They will search ground, vegetation and campsites for fruit, insects, carrion and unwatched human food items, which they will coat with saliva and store for leaner times. Gray Jays have a variety of songs and are good mimics of other birds as well.


Nucifraga columbianaClarks Nutcracker More skilled at cracking open conifer cones than nuts, the Clarks Nutcracker is an inhabitant of subalpine coniferous forests, where it specializes in harvesting pine seeds.  Stuffing its large throat pouch full of goods, it caches seeds for the long winter ahead.  Both adults help build their nest, incubate the eggs and feed their young.