Scrub Jay (Alphelocoma coerulescens; originally Ultramarine Jay/Corvus Ultramarinus)
Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli; originally Corvus Nutallii)
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri; originally Corvus Stellerii)
Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga Columbiana; originally Clark’s Crow/Corvus Columbianus)
These four western members of the crow-jay family were drawn by Audubon from specimens sent to him by those western pioneers, Nuttall and Townsend. Although Audubon knew the scrub jay (top) in Florida, where there is a disjunct population, he shared the opinion of Bonaparte and others that the western birds were a separate species, differing only in minor details. His specimens apparently came from the Columbia River.
Steller’s jay, the dark bird at the upper right, is a denizen of the western fir and pine forests where it replaces the blue jay of eastern North America. The large bird in the center is the yellow-billed magpie, which replaces the common black-billed magpie in the valleys of California. It is presumed to be a remnant population, descendant of an earlier invasion of magpies from the Old World, probably prior to the last glaciation. It has obviously been here long enough to develop specific differences. Audubon, naming it scientifically after his friend Thomas Nuttall, wrote: “It is to him alone that we owe all that is known respecting the present species.”