East Meets West: Carving the Eastern Blue Jay

What's a nice bird like the Eastern blue jay doing in a place like Montana?

By: Jerry Simchuk
Photography by Bill Bachhuber

Since entering his first competition in 1994, Jerry Simchuk has competed regularly at top-level bird carving shows around the country. A full-time artist since 2004, Jerry has been creating wildlife art sculptures in bronze. He currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where he continues to build his reputation as a wildlife artist, carver, judge, and instructor. You can reach him at Jerry@Simchuk.com.

It wasn’t too long ago that the first Eastern blue jay showed up outside the window of my office in Montana. Its unusual call made me jump to my feet and when I spotted it I realized I had never seen this magnificently colored bird from the east in this part of the country before. The blue jay had found its way to the northwestern corner of Montana. East had met west. Since then my desire to carve this bird has never subsided. Anytime I became aware of a blue jay’s presence, I’d go out with my camera and take photos, knowing some day I would capture this bird in wood.

The Eastern blue jay is a large songbird and one of two crested jays in North America. It can be found in about two-thirds of eastern North America. Its distinct call has a squeaking or metallic sound. Once you hear the Eastern blue jay you will never forget it.

The complete article was featured in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Winter 2013 issue.



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I want to carve this Bluejay and have the magazine article. What size and color eye is required. Thank you.

Nice plan and document. What size wood blank did you use for the Blue Jay? If I turn the bird side view horizontal what would be the length to match the top view? I was hoping to use a 3 x 2 3/4 x 10 piece of basswood.

Hello! That's a great question! I have reached out to the carver, and I'm waiting on a response. I will comment here as soon as I hear back.

Jerry Simchuck says, "The Eastern Blue Jay measures about 9" long from tip to tip. I would use a block of wood that measures 10" x 4" x 4" to get the pattern to fit and be able to do the cutout."


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