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
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
*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.

Take a look at this very detailed eBird page, which is for a hybrid pair
far less interesting/useful (to my thinking) in part because it is between

Now I fully realize that a great many eBird 'officials' are volunteers
without endless time available. But there are eBird paid personnel who
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

Join us on Facebook!