The Island Scrub-Jay, Aphelocoma insularis, endemic to Santa Cruz Island, is the only bird species in the continental United States to have never ranged to the mainland and is among the most range-restricted songbirds in North America. Since 2007, a team of researchers from The Nature Conservancy, the Smithsonian Institution, Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska, and the University of California - Davis have studied this jay's biology and behavior. The research is motivated by risks to the jay¹s viability posed by its limited range and population size (estimated at less than 3000 individuals), and by emerging threats from climate change and disease. The Island Scrub-Jay is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Recent scientific papers
Sofaer, Helen R., Sillett, T. Scott, Peluc, Susana I., Morrison, Scott A. and Ghalambor, Cameron K. 2013. Differential effects of food availability and nest predation risk on avian reproductive strategies. Behavioral Ecology, 24(3): 698-707. doi:10.1093/beheco/ars212 | Link to article online »
Rick, Torben C., Hofman, Courtney A., Braje, Todd J., Maldonado, Jesús E., Sillett, T. Scott, Danchisko, Kevin and Erlandson, Jon M. 2012. Flightless ducks, giant mice and pygmy mammoths: Late Quaternary extinctions on California's Channel Islands. World Archaeology, 44(1): 3-20. doi:10.1080/00438243.2012.646101 | Link to article online »
Sillett, T. S., Chandler, Richard B., Royle, J. Andrew, Kéry, Marc and Morrison, Scott A. 2012. Hierarchical distance-sampling models to estimate population size and habitat-specific abundance of an island endemic. Ecological Applications, 22(7): 1997-2006. doi:10.1890/11-1400.1 | Link to article online »
Boyce, Walter M., Vickers, Winston, Morrison, Scott A., Sillett, T. Scott, Caldwell, Luke, Wheeler, Sarah S., Barker, Christopher M., Cummings, Robert and Reisen, William K. 2011. Surveillance for West Nile Virus and Vaccination of Free-Ranging Island Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma insularis) on Santa Cruz Island, California. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11(8): 1063-1068.doi:10.1089/vbz.2010.0171 | Link to article online »
Morrison, Scott A., Sillett, T. Scott, Ghalambor, Cameron K., Fitzpatrick, John W., Graber, David M., Bakker, Victoria J., Bowman, Reed, Collins, Charles T., Collins, Paul W., Delaney, Kathleen Semple, Doak, Daniel F., Koenig, Walter D., Laughrin, Lyndal, Lieberman, Alan A., Marzluff, John M., Reynolds, Mark D., Scott, J. Michael, Stallcup, Jerre Ann, Vickers, Winston and Boyce, Walter M. 2011. Proactive Conservation Management of an Island-endemic Bird Species in the Face of Global Change. Bioscience, 61(12): 1013-1021. doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.12.11 | Link to article online »
Peluc, Susana I., Sillett, T. Scott, Rotenberry, John T. and Ghalambor, Cameron K. 2008. Adaptive phenotypic plasticity in an island songbird exposed to a novel predation risk. Behavioral Ecology, 19(4): 830-835. doi:10.1093/beheco/arn033 | Link to article online »
Click here to see The Nature Conservancy's latest informaiton on the island scrub jay.