Feb 26 2012
When volunteers compared notes after the Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count on January 1, someone remarked that they hadn’t seen many blue jays this winter. Everyone at the Pittsburgh CBC Dinner nodded.
This morning I remembered that remark and looked through my bird observations to see how often I’ve recorded blue jays this winter.
Amazingly I’ve seen them only four times since November 1: on November 6 and 13 and December 4 and 11. Three of those observations were at the same spot at Moraine State Park and were perhaps the same individual bird. Meanwhile, I have not seen a blue jay in Pittsburgh for at least four months.
If the blue jays aren’t here, where are they?
Have you seen any blue jays lately?
UPDATES & BLUE JAY ABUNDANCE MAPS
- Click here for an eBird map of blue jay abundance 2009-2013 in Pennsylvania. Change the map’s location by clicking on the word “Pennsyvania” and choosing your own state.
- March 2012: I mapped your sightings on The Blue Jay Report here.
- June 2013: New comments have come in from folks who are seeing far fewer blue jays than they expect. I asked 1,200 observers in Pennsylvania (via PABIRDS) if they were seeing fewer blue jays. Everyone said they were seeing plenty of blue jays but one person commented that 17-year cicadas seemed to depress blue jay abundance in advance of the cicada emergence. If you have fewer blue jays, are you also in a cicada area?
(photo by Marcy Cunkelman, prior to 2000)