"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Monday, September 19, 2016

Introducing the California Scrub-jay

The California Scrub-jay.  Photo by J.J. Meyer
In case you need an excuse to buy a new field guide -- 

The American Ornithologists’ Union, the official authority on classification and names of all bird species on this continent, recently released a new checklist of North American Birds. 

In the new checklist, the Western Scrub-Jay has been split into two species: the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii). Birders have long recognized that these widespread western jays come in different shades: a darker, more rich color in California, Oregon, and southwestern Washington, and a somewhat paler, grayer type in the interior West, from Nevada east to Texas. Many field guides already illustrate them separately as “coastal form” (or “Pacific form”) and “interior form.”

The American Ornithologists’ Union has been considering this split for several years. The split became official after genetic research demonstrated that the two species rarely interbreed where they come into contact with each other in western Nevada.

Happy Birding!

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