Date: 10/30/20 1:55 pm From: Robert O'Brien <baro...> Subject: [obol] Woodhouse vs. California Scrub Jays an eBird suggestion
All the various components of this ongoing discussion have been very interesting, regardless of position. And, I am a big fan of eBird, which I have also called 'A Work in Progress'. So here is a suggestion. This is for eBird reviewers within the large inter-Scrubjay-zone tobe more proactive in what is reported and some criteria for reporting. This might clear up a lot of the discussion. Here is the appropriate, current eBird reporting category., which would be a start. In other words, not identified with certainty. Potentially a lot of current records could be moved here. And later moved again? *California/Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica/woodhouseii* Also useful would be a hybrid category which is currently unavailable. Many hybrid Jays are now available, including Woodhous's x Steller's Notice that they even include listings for the two subspecies of Woodhouse's. Perhaps an identification by range?. See appendix below.
Now I fully realize that a great many eBird 'officials' are volunteers without endless time available. But there are eBird paid personnel who might either do it themselves or review what is done by an energetic volunteer(s).
Regarding Joel's comment that none of the Scrub Jay OBOL-commenters have experience with these species south of the Oregon border, my brother and I made a trip to Caruther's Canyon in the northern Death Valley National Preserve, a few years ago, specifically for Woodhouse's. The birds we found clearly were NOT California: Different appearance, calls, behavior. Yet these birds were very colorful with strong markings and especially a very strong supercilium. I posted my observations/photos to OBOL a few years back and there was some discussion.(I could repost again, but I doubt there would be interest). A 'final' comment made by someone in the discussion, whom I don't recall. simply said this was a hybrid population. A simple enough explanation, taken off the cuff. I didn't pursue the discussion further at the time since these were not Oregon birds, BUT................. BUT, this canyon is very far removed from any reports of California Scrub Jay or of any suitable habitat for same. A vast area with no Scrub-Jay reports. If they were once a hybrid population in earlier vegegational regimes (i.e. zillions of years ago) then they have remained so for a very long time. That is, they form a quite different, stable, isolated, breeding population in contact at best with more easterly Woodhouse's that presumably are far less colorful.. That is, to my way of thinking, they may be yet another Scrub Jay species. After all, we now have the Island Scrub Jay. Ha!
Bob OBrien Carver OR *Appendix: eBird Scrub-Jay Classifications* Florida *Scrub-Jay* Aphelocoma coerulescens Island *Scrub-Jay* Aphelocoma insularis California *Scrub-Jay* Aphelocoma californica Steller's Jay x California *Scrub-Jay* (hybrid) Cyanocitta stelleri x Aphelocoma californica Woodhouse's *Scrub-Jay* Aphelocoma woodhouseii Woodhouse's *Scrub-Jay* (Woodhouse's) Aphelocoma woodhouseii [woodhouseii Group) <<<<<<? Woodhouse's *Scrub-Jay* (Sumichrast's) Aphelocoma woodhouseii sumichrasti/remota <<<<<? Steller's Jay x Woodhouse's *Scrub-Jay* (hybrid) Cyanocitta stelleri x Aphelocoma woodhouseii California/Woodhouse's *Scrub-Jay* Aphelocoma californica/woodhouseii <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<