Monday, October 24, 2016

California Scrub-Jay

California Scurb-Jays were common along with Steller’s Jays in Olympia, Washington. This jay is a relatively new bird to my life-list. Only recently have ornithologists concluded that California Scrub-Jays are a distinct species, separate from other scrub-jays. These birds differ in habitat and are brighter blue than are inland scrub-jays (now known as Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay). They do not, however, vary greatly genetically and they interbreed in narrow hybrid zones where their ranges overlap.

Our scrub-jays fed on fruit trees. Elsewhere they are opportunistic feeders, taking arthropods, lizards, fruits and seeds. They will eat ticks off of deer. They are not adverse to eating carrion. We watched the jay below cache his fruit under some bushes along a sidewalk. This behavior is well-known. Most caching is done in the fall and their buried bounties are consumed from mid-winter until spring.

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