[Tweeters] Thoughts on Skamania County Jay and Lewis's Woodpecker migration

Wilson Cady gorgebirds at juno.com
Fri Sep 29 13:49:31 PDT 2017

After looking at the recent reports from three different days at the St. Cloud Recreation Area in Skamania County, I decided to voice some thoughts on the amazing movement of jays and Lewis's Woodpeckers seen there. The reports came from Sept. 24, 26, and 27th when a total of 87 LEWIS'S WOODPECKERS, 1,226 STELLER'S JAYS, and 230 CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAYS were counted flying east up the Columbia River Gorge. I have seen migrant flocks of Steller's Jays in several spots including at our place in Skamania County and Vancouver Lake, but never in the numbers at St. Cloud. I cannot attribute the jay movement to the still smoldering fires in the Columbia Gorge, as in one hour on Oct. 1, 2015, Les Carlson and I counted 336 Steller's Jays flying east over St. Cloud. The strange thing is that these migrant birds are always silent, I only heard a couple of Scrub-Jays chattering at St. Cloud but they might be a resident pair. I have no idea where these birds are coming from, the Steller's Jays could be from anywhere, but my question is where are all of the Scrub-Jays and Lewis's Woodpeckers coming from? Since that is a lot of Scrub-Jays for Washington and Lewis's Woodpeckers are rare in Western Washington, I can only surmise that they are coming north up the Willamette Valley and then perhaps up the Gorge to the oak forests around Klickitat and Hood River Counties. And as the woodpeckers are traveling with the jays I would assume that the other jays are also coming from the south. I need to find out what the acorn crop is like up there this year and if that might be drawing them. Does anyone else have any ideas or opinions on this movement of birds? Wilson Cady
Columbia River Gorge, WA
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