[Tweeters] Canada Jay eBird groups in WA

Alan Knue temnurus at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 18:41:42 PDT 2018

Hello All,

During a recent trip to the northern Cascades, I noticed that the wrong
Canada Jay group was present in the eBird filter for several areas.
Subspecies bicolor, whose range includes Okanogan (as far west as west of
Conconully/ east of Winthrop in hotspots such as the Long Swamp, Tiffany
Springs, and Rogers Lake), Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreile Counties and the
SE Blue Mountains, is very similar to the Rocky Mountains group
(capitalis/albescens) in some plumage characteristics, but is classified by
Clements as part of the Northern canadensis group. I'm fairly certain this
is based on the 2012 paper (High latitudes and high genetic diversity:
Phylogeography of a widespread boreal bird, the gray jay (Perisoreus
canadensis) by Paul van Els, Carla Cicero, and John Klicka, Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution 63, pp 456–465) that shows a "Transcascades"
group as sister to the Northern group, which combined are sister to a
southern Rocky Mtn group. Anyway, the filter for those portions of the
state should be updated accordingly to include the Northern group and
remove the option for the Rocky Mountains group.

Additionally, the Pacific group (obscurus), and not the Rocky Mountains
group, is the correct group for both slopes of the Cascades to the Canadian
border, so the filter for the eastern Cascades at such places as Rainy and
Washington Pass also needs to be corrected to the the Pacific group. I
think some birders were selecting the wrong option because it was the only
one available in the filter for the area- for example, there is one eBird
record for Washington Pass that included photos where the jays are clearly
of the Pacific group. There was also one record from Chelan County entered
as Rocky Mountains group (without details) that should also be the Pacific

I'm not sure if the eBird reviewers in WA monitor this list, but if not, if
someone knows who I should contact, let me know.

Best, Alan
Alan Knue
Edmonds, WA
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