Bird of the Week: Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Three species of Scrub-Jay can be found in the United States, but only one, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, resides in Texas. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay prefer the montane pine forests of the American Southwest and far west Texas, but their range extends into the eastern Edwards Plateau and central Texas, where they live in juniper-oak woodlands. They resemble their eastern cousin, the Blue Jay, but are more muted in color and lack the Blue Jay’s distinctive crest. One trait that Scrub-Jays share with Blue Jay is their resourcefulness and intelligence–in fact, jays have a brain-to-body mass ratio almost as high as that of humans. They have excellent memories, and can recall the locations of dozens of food caches. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay is also a very recent addition to most birders’ checklists: until 2016, they were Western Scrub-Jays.

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

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