Pinyon Jay2005

Pinyon Jay2005


Worldwide Species Action Plans

Pinyon Jay action planPinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) occur in low-elevation conifer woodlands (primarily pinyon-juniper) throughout much of the interior western United States. Although they have been closely studied in northern Arizona and central New Mexico, their ecology is virtually unstudied in other portions of their range. Pinyon jays are highly social, living year-round in flocks composed of groups of closely related individuals. In fall and winter, flocks may disperse widely in search of their principal food source, pine seeds. Pinyon jays and pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) have coevolved, with jays depending on pinyon pine seeds as their primary food source in fall and winter, and also acting as dispersal agents for the seeds. Due to perceived long-term population declines in some areas, pinyon jays are considered a Species of Conservation Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Southern Rockies/Colorado Plateau Bird Conservation Region. They are also on the National Audubon Societys Watch List and the Partners in Flight National Watch List. There has been growing concern recently over the fate of pinyon jays in the southwestern states (including Colorado) given the ongoing, widespread die-off of pinyon pines in the region. Severe drought over several years appears to have induced water stress in pinyon pines, making them more susceptible to attack by pinyon engraver beetles (Ips confusus). Compounding the current Ips infestation is the fact that beetles typically attack older, more mature pinyon trees, which are the primary cone producers and thus a principal source of food for pinyon jays. During such infestations, large areas may be severely affected, with up to 90 percent mortality of the local pinyon pine population.

  1. Garrulus cyanocephalus
  2. Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
  3. NA w

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