Daily Archives: May 13, 2014

Birding on Bloedel: Stellar’s Jay standing sentinel

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published  here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for seven years. They live in Kingston. 

Contributed photo / Kincade Fowler Steller's Jays are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of animal and vegetable food.
Contributed photo / Kincade Fowler
Steller’s Jays are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of animal and vegetable food.

The Danish-born Russian explorer Vitus Bering led two expeditions to Alaska and the Bering Sea in the early 1700s. The physician and natualist on his ill-fated second expedition (1740-1742) was Georg Wilhelm Steller.

When Bering’s ship, the St. Peter, visited Kayak Island in the Aleutisns in 1741, Steller discovered a striking jay new to science, but which he realized was clearly a close cousin of the Blue Jay of eastern North America. This relationship led Steller to deduce that Alaska was part of North America, not Asia.

Unfortunately the St. Peter encountered severe storms while attempting to return to its Russian home port, and was shipwrecked on what is now Bering Island, where the crew had to spend the long winter. Steller and about half the crew survived, but Vitus Bering did not, dying on Dec. 18, 1741. The jay and several other bird and mammal species were eventually named for their discoverer.

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a denizen of the coniferous forests of western North America, but it has also adapted to life in urbanized environments. It, like its eastern cousin, is now a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeders. Its striking cobalt blue plumage over most of the body, except a charcoal gray hood, makes it a stand-out in any setting. Its strident alarm calls are often heard before the bird is seen, and it is quick to scold any perceived threat — hence, again like its eastern cousin, it is often referred to as the “sentinel of the forest.”

Jays and their relatives, the crows, are omnivorous, taking a wide variety of both animal and vegetable food. At backyard bird feeders it is particularly fond of sunflower seeds, a reflection of the fact that about three-quarters of its diet is vegetable.

Although most of the animal portion of its diet consists of insects, it also preys on the eggs and nestlings of other species of birds, which accounts for the fact that during the breeding season the “scolder” is frequently scolded by other birds. Listen for its raucous scolding as you walk along the forest paths in Bloedel — it may be scolding you.

Island benefits from Kitsap Great Give

Island nonprofit groups fared very well in the inaugural Kitsap Great Give on Tuesday, May 6.

The event, organized by the Kitsap Community Foundation, set a goal of raising $500,000 for nonprofit organizations and activities throughout Kitsap County through a 24-hour donation drive. Donations were accepted through its website, www.kitsapgreatgive.org, where a leaderboard kept a running tally of donations through the day.

The total donated in the Kitsap Great Give was $539,199.95. At least 22 island-specific organizations were helped, including several near the top of the countywide list in terms of donors and amounts raised. The Bainbridge Schools Foundation raised more than any other nonprofit, with $22,840.

The Bainbridge Schools Foundation, with 82 individual donors, led all island organizations in that category, followed by Maasai Women’s Education and Empowerment Program (41), Island Time Activities (52), Island Volunteer Caregivers (40) and Bainbridge Public Library (43).

The amount raised for Island Time Activities ($19,180) was also among the highest in the county. Others at the top in terms of donations were Bainbridge Island Museum of Art ($17,310), Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council ($7,325) and Bainbridge Performing Arts ($7,235).

For a full and updated list, visit www.kitsapgreatgive.org

Bainbridge police blotter, May 13


The following items were taken from Bainbridge police reports by reporter Ethan Fowler. For more blotter, visit bainbridgeislander.com and click on Bainbridge blog link on the right side of the screen.

Crime log stats from May 4 to May 10: 7 traffic accidents, 5 suspicious incident/investigations, 3 theft from motor vehicles, 2 malicious mischiefs in the third degree, 2 miscellaneous, 2 false alarms, 1 driving under the influence-alcohol, 1 driving while license suspended/revoked, 1 assault in the second degree, 1 lost property, 1 warrant misdemeanor, 1 missing person, 1 failure to transfer title of motor vehicle, 1 mental investigation, 1 recovered stolen property, 1 forgery/counterfeit, 1 agency assist, 1 patrol check, 1 vehicle prowling and 1 littering.

May 12

Failure to secure load: A 21-year-old man, who lives on the 10000 block of Sunrise Place, was stopped after a half case of beer fell out of his car and broken glass was strewn over the roadway at High School Road and State Route 305 at 10 a.m. The driver had put the half case in the back of the vehicle, but he didn’t close the car’s hatchback all the way. Two citizens came up with brooms, dust pans and garbage pails to sweep up the glass from the road, which caused the officer to cancel a request to Public Works.

Found property: A 1974 canoe was found on April 25 and was dropped off at the city dock by the Suquamish Police Department. The canoe was placed into custody and will be stored.

May 11

Driving while license suspended, expired registration: A 70-year-old Olympia man was cited for an expired vehicle registration while his car was parked at a fast-food restaurant on High School Road. The vehicle had expired in August 2013 and had a July 2013 report of sale. The driver had a suspended license in the third degree for unpaid tickets as of November 2011. He also had an active warrant out of Kitsap County for driving with a license suspended/revoked in the third degree with a $500 bail. The man was given a June 17 court date.

May 10

Driving while license suspended/revoked in the third degree, speeding: A 30-year-old Lynnwood man was stopped after an officer witnessed him driving at a high rate of speed going southbound from West Port Madison Road on State Route 305. Radar clocked the man’s car at 70 mph. The man previously already had his driver’s license suspended in the third degree for unpaid tickets. He issued a June 10 court date.

May 9

Driving under the influence/liquor: A 55-year-old man living the 600 block of Park Avenue was arrested for driving under the influence/liquor at 10:30 p.m. Officers had responded to a call of a truck pulling in front of a vacant house. When officers arrived, they saw a vehicle in a ditch, just north of Wing Point Way. The driver later walked out of his home on the 600 block of Park Avenue and said he had seen a large dog in the intersection, which caused him to swerve into the ditch as he tried to avoid hitting it. Officers could smell alcohol on the man’s breath, which caused the man to admit to drinking two beers with friends earlier that night on the south end of the island. The man provided two valid breath samples that measured .215 and .208. He was transported to Kitsap County Jail and booked with a $5,000 bail.

May 7

Burglary-residential, trafficking in stolen property, possessing stolen goods: A 29-year-old woman living on the 10000 block of Falk Road and a 29-year-old Bremerton man were arrested for burglary and are believed to responsible for at least some of the increase in Bainbridge residential burglaries in the first five months of 2014. In one incident, the man sold jewelry that was stolen from a house the woman was hired to clean.