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home : columns : columns October 21, 2018


1/30/2018 2:15:00 PM
Sisters Country birds
By Douglas Beall


The nasal call coming from high in the pines as the flock moves though the forest are pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus).

The pinyon jay is a permanent resident of the pinyon-juniper woodlands and ponderosa pines forest. With bills adapted to extract seeds from cones, they will cache thousands of seeds which will be used in the winter months. Their hairless nostrils allow them to grab the seeds without getting sticky sap on themselves. They also consume many insects, berries, acorns and small mammals.

These jays live in large flocks up to 500 and build bulky nests made of sticks, shredded bark, grass and animal hair 3-20 feet above ground where 4-5 pale blue with brown speckled eggs are laid. The female sustains incubation with the male feeding her for 15-17 days and the chicks leave the nest in 19-21 after hatching. Fourteen years and 7 months is the oldest recorded age of a pinyon jay.

A group of pinyon jays is known as a "cast," "party," "band," or a "scold."

To view more images visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasasong.com/recent-journeys.





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