Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Mollhoff in Nebraska Bird Review (September 2000) 68(3). Copyright 2000, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The Rev. J,M. Bates (1900) was the first tQ suggest breeding by Pinyon Jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) in Nebraska when he reported, "Breeding at Holly, Sheridan Co., north of Rushville, July 15, '97." While he gave us no indication of what he saw, the date cited in the report, 15 July, should raise a cautionary flag, since by that date the young are normally 2 months past fledging and would be free-flying and moving about with the flock.

In discussing birds which breed in the state, Bruner (1901) placed the species in Part II of the list, along with other species which "undoubtedly breed here, but concerning which more definite data as to such breeding is desired."

Later, reporting on the 1901 field work in the Pine Ridge by a team from the University of Nebraska, Cary (1902) reported, "Both adults and young abundant, but the only breeding evidence secured was a couple of old nests which Mr. Carriker found at the head of Gerlach's Canyon." Cary was confident enough of the finding that he included Pinyon Jays in a list of species for which "breeding.... was definitely established" in a note to the Auk (1901). He gave no indication, however, that the nests were collected; and there was neither a description of them, nor a statement of how they were identified.