The WESTERN SCRUB-JAY is a widespread and common resident of deciduous woodland and scrub throughout California. It frequents oak woodlands, oak savanna, chaparral, mixed coniferous and oak forests, pinyon-juniper woods, and riparian borders. It is a common backyard bird in many cities. Birds from the Sierran foothills west, like the nominate race birds shown in the photo above, are richer and more colorful than the washed-out versions east of the Sierran divide. The latter -- of the race A. c. woodhouseii [Woodhouse's Jay] -- are quite distinctive and may even be an incipient species. I have an entire page on-line about identification of scrub-jays; see it for details of both identification and taxonomy.
All my California records have been of birds within their usual range, and I was familiar with this species as a familiar backyard bird as a child. Only sightings of interest are mentioned below:
9/20/99 Carmel R. mouth MTY flock of 29 moving upriver; this is a very large flock for a resident species and likely represents flocking juvenals in post-breeding dispersalSee the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text © 2001 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
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