Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.

The animal on the cover of Writing Excel Macros with VBA, Second Edition, is a blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), a vociferous, aggressive bird common in the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada. The blue-crested jay is also an agile flyer and occasional nest-robber. The term “blue jay” is also applied to the Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), a larger, darker jay common in much of the western U.S. and Canada, as well as several other species.

Blue jays eat primarily nuts, seeds, and insects, sometimes planting acorns in the ground, thus helping tree growth. Known for their loud, harsh, and easily identifiable calls, blue jays (related to crows and ravens) often spoil the hunting forays of other animals by warning potential prey.

Blue jays are bright blue, white, and black, with both sexes similar in appearance. They are about 10 to 12 inches in length, and build large tree nests about 25 feet off the ground, into which are laid 3 to 6 spotted olive-colored eggs. The male is very attentive during the nesting periods. Jays are sociable and frequently travel in groups, ranging from a mating pair to a larger flock.

Catherine Morris was the production editor and Tatiana Apandi Diaz was the proofreader for Writing Excel ...

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