New Count Makes Island Scrub Jay Rare In U.S.
A new count of the island scrub jay showed that there are fewer of the birds than previously thought. The new calculations make the bird one of the ten rarest songbirds in the United States. Previous work had overestimated their population by as much as 500 per cent, according to an article of the October issue of Ecological Applications.
The bird, with brilliant blue plumage, lives only on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California. Despite this correction in the numbers, the bird is slowly coming back now that non-native animals such as pigs, cows, and sheep that destroyed their habitat have been removed from the island. The birds live in areas that are dominated by scrub oak trees.
Because of the new numbers, the birds have been moved from being classified as near-threatened to vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Continuing threats include limited island range, lack of genetic diversity, West Nile virus, and the loss of the scrub oak due to disease and wildfire.
Source: Mother Nature Network
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger