Pinyon Jay Working Group
Western Working Group
The Pinyon Jay Working Group (PJWG) was formed in 2017 with a goal of bringing together Pinyon Jay experts to discuss conservation needs of the species. The small initial group slowly expanded into a large, diverse partnership (35+ partners) whose goal was to develop a range wide conservation strategy for the species. PJWG partners are concerned by the significant long-term population declines of the species, which are among the steepest declines of any bird in North America. Data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) suggest that Pinyon Jay numbers have decreased survey-wide by 3.69% per year from 1967-2015, with an overall population loss of approximately 83.5%. Pinyon Jay populations are predicted to be reduced by an additional 50% from 2016 to 2035 (the so-called population “half-life”). Partners in Flight (PIF) identifies Pinyon Jay as a yellow Watch List species with a goal of reversing population declines. PIF criteria for inclusion as a yellow Watch List species is due to population declines and threats to habitats on breeding and nonbreeding grounds. Pinyon Jay has been identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in State Wildlife Action Plans in most states across its range.
The Pinyon Jay is understudied and poorly known in most areas of its range. The PJWG aims to increase our limited knowledge of the species, their habitat use and requirements across their range, and identify causes of population declines. The PJWG recognizes the challenges of working with a flocking species that uses a large landscape (8,000-15,000 acres) and a wide variety of piñon-juniper and other pine-dominated woodlands and structures to meet their daily and annual requirements. Despite the challenges, the PJWG believes it can fill key information gaps about the species and develop habitat management recommendations that can reduce, minimize or mitigate negative impacts on the jay while working in concert with other management and conservation objectives.
The PJWG strives to coordinate and collaborate among partners to address key information needs for the species across its range, including assessing habitat use and requirements, causes of population declines, and the impact of habitat management on the species. A long-term goal is to develop geographic specific habitat management recommendations designed to ideally benefit the species.
The mission of the PJWG is to develop and share the best available science to better understand, conserve, and manage Pinyon Jays and their habitat.
The Pinyon Jay Working Group consists of a diverse partnership of federal, state, and non-governmental organizations including: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Game and Fish Department, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Nevada Division of Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, University of New Mexico, Great Basin Bird Observatory, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Intermountain Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, among others.
Contacts: Pinyon Jay Working Group Steering Committee and Others (scroll down below)
Conservation Strategy for the Pinyon Jay
Survey Protocol for Landscape Applications
This Survey Protocol describes how to collect standardized Pinyon Jay data for larger-scale applications that require a sampling approach.
Survey Protocols for Project Level Application (anticipated late 2023)
The PJWG is developing a second Survey Protocol to use in and around smaller project/management areas that can be completely surveyed (<2500 ha).
Resources for PJWG Survey Protocols
These items provide supporting material for conducting PJWG survey protocols, including the use of ArcGIS Field Maps for data collection.
- Field Maps Configuration Guide
- Field Maps User Guide
- Pinyon Jay Protocols For Landscape Application – Paper Data Sheet
- File Geodatabase Template: Landscape Applications (zip)
- Grid Shapefiles for each state (zip)
Additional Guidance and Information
These items provide additional information about conducting field surveys and avoiding impacts to Pinyon Jays.
- Guidance for Locating Pinyon Jay Nests and Confirming Breeding
- Recommendations for Avoiding Pinyon Jay Impacts in Nevada
- Guidelines to Minimize Impacts of Data-Gathering Activities on Pinyon Jays
Contacts – Pinyon Jay Working Group Steering Committee
|Scott Somershoe (Chair)
Land Bird Coordinator
Migratory Bird Program, Region 6
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Migratory Bird Biologist
Division of Migratory Birds, Region 2
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Renee Chi (Co-chair)
Nongame Avian Biologist
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Santa Fe, New Mexico
|Amy Seglund (Co-chair)
Species Conservation Coordinator
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Executive Director, Great Basin Bird Observatory
Avian Conservation Program Coordinator
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
|Valerie Stein Foster
Wildlife Program Leader
U.S. Forest Service, Kaibab National Forest
Avian Conservation Biologist
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Diversity Staff Specialist, Wildlife Diversity
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Senior Research Scientist
Animas Biological Studies
Acting Conservation Strategy Coordinator
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Regional Wildlife Diversity Biologist
Idaho Department of Fish and Game