Friday, September 30, 2016

American Kestrel and California Scrub Jay on the Tuolumne River

Lots of travels lately, so I haven't had many chances to explore the river in my own backyard, much less post pictures of birds in general. But this morning I got the chance and almost immediately noticed an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) in the top of one of the dead oak trees. That wasn't unusual, but it was being mobbed a bit by two or three California Scrub Jays (Aphelocoma californica). I don't know what they were arguing about, but they all flew away when I walked under the tree.

You haven't heard of a California Scrub Jay before? That might be because it has only been a species for less than a year. Those in charge of such things decided in 2016 that two races or subspecies of the Western Scrub Jay were actually distinct species. The California Scrub Jay ranges across the coastal mountains of Baja, California, Oregon and Washington, while the Woodhouse's Scrub Jay ranges across the interior states of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The California Jays have a slightly hooked beak that allows for attacking acorns while the Woodhouse's beak is straighter, allowing them to dig out pine nuts from cones.

No comments:

Post a Comment