I just got a heads up from Chuck Murray about a rare find in his back yard. A Western Scrub Jay showed up October 24 and appears to be settling in for a long sty. Non-migratory, their habitat stretches from Southern Washington State to Texas, preferring the dry areas south of us. The last sighting of this specie in North Idaho was in 1977 around the Priest Lake area.
When Chuck notified the Audubon Society of this bird, requesting information on it, the society lit up like a Christmas tree with excitement over the find. Large numbers of bird watchers have descended on the Murray homestead, hoping for a peek at this rare bird. While they normally travel and feed in pairs, Chuck has only observed the one.
When the bird first arrived, Chuck didn't know what it was, so he took a picture of it and sent it to the Audubon people. About a week later, there were more bird watchers in his yard than birds.
Murray has been feeding birds at his home on Cape Horn Road for 20 years and has befriended a covey of California Quail that have lived in the area for a long time. Gradually they stopped spooking when the Murrays were around, until finally in the present time, they wait under a bush in his yard for the afternoon feeding around 3:30 pm. As far as the Jay is concerned, he hit pay dirt, since a hungry bird will find a smorgasbord at this location.
Photo by Taryn Hecker Thonpson.
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