Asotin Co. Scrub-Jay

Ruth Sullivan GODWIT at
Tue Mar 26 15:21:39 PST 2002

Hello Charles/and Tweets,

My mother and I received our photos back of the Western Scrub Jay observed
near Chief Timothy S.P. with two seperate photos that show and indicate many
of the features of the interior subspecies including slightly smaller size
and slightly slimmer body shape compared to photos we personally have of the
coastal subspecies of Western Scrub Jay recently taken from Brady Loop Rd.
in Grays Harbor Co. The photos of the Asotin Co. bird also indicate in one
photo a noticeably shorter, thinner bill,shorter tail, and grayer
underparts. We understand there may be much difficulty in determining
Western Scrub Jays in the field,(especially in areas where they do not
normally occur),as there may be up to 18 seperate subspecies of both coastal
and interior forms and that there may be a great deal of variation, but we
still feel stongly convinced that the Asotin Co. bird is of one of the
interior subspecies,going by listed and observed physical and behavioral
characteristics. Perhaps additional information and knowledge may prove
otherwise and perhaps more sightings of strays will be encountered.


Patrick Sullivan

----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Swift <charless at>
To: Tweeters <tweeters at>
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 4:17 PM
Subject: Asotin Co. Scrub-Jay

> It has been suggested that the Asotin Co. Scrub-Jay is of the 'interior

> race', however, Dick Johnson, over here at WSU (one of the original

> observers) has done some research and suggests that determing the race of

> this individual may not be so easy (without studying museum collections).

> There are actually something like 18 different subspecies and there is a

> range of variation within subspecies and populations (both interior and

> coastal). Also, while it may seem intuitively that the 'interior' forms

> would be most likely, based only on distance traveled, the Columbia R.

> population is at least as likely as it appears to be the closest (the next

> nearest populations are in southeast Idaho, southern Oregon, and northern

> Nevada). It would be concievable for a Scrub-Jay to travel up the Columbia

> R. and then up the Snake R. thus staying in somewhat suitable habitat most

> of the way. Regardless, it does point out that there is often incomplete

> information in the standard field guides to determine subspecific


> It might be interesting to know as well if there are populations that are

> more or less sedentary than others. Dick Johnson has posted several long

> emails to inland northwest birders that I would be happy to forward (don't

> know of there would be ther interest on tweeters as a whole).


> Similarly we often wonder where our annual visitor Band-tailed Pigeons are

> coming from - west of the Cascades or farther south?


> thanks, Charles.



> Charles E. Swift

> Moscow, ID, USA

> charless at




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