Growth in Participation and Reporting in the Pinyon Jay Community Science Project: August 2023 Update

CFO members and other Colorado birding groups and individuals have joined in the Pinyon Jay Community Science Project, co-sponsored by CFO. From the kickoff in late fall 2022, the efforts and results have been quite amazing. The goal is to document Pinyon Jay sightings and activity using the database developed by Great Basin Bird Observatory (GBBO).

As a species, the Pinyon Jay has been declining in population range-wide. From 1967–2015, population levels fell an estimated 83.5%. In 2022, Defenders of Wildlife petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to have the species federally listed as threatened or endangered species.

Since initiating the Pinyon Jay Community Science Project, GBBO has provided four trainings, while Colorado Parks and Wildlife have held one training. Attendance at the online trainings was extremely strong. At the joint convention of CFO and Western Field Ornithologists in July 2023, three field trip groups sighted different Pinyon Jay flocks exhibiting a variety of behaviors including foraging and young begging.

In fall 2022, when the Pinyon Jay Community Science Project started, the GBBO Pinyon Jay database had two records for the state of Colorado. As of today (18 August 2023), 279 Colorado records have been submitted by 44 observers to the GBBO database. This is a very strong start for the first eight months of the project!

In the coming year, we will have more information on the progress of the Defenders of Wildlife petition for threatened/endangered species status. You can join the Pinyon Jay Community Science Project and start contributing your observations of Pinyon Jays (or even the absence of Pinyon Jays from appropriate habitats) today.

Philip McNichols, CFO Conservation Committee Chair