This was my first close-up encounter Southeastern Arizona corvids as I was photographing wildflowers in the Chiricahua Mountains when I ran into this Mexican jay (Aphelocoma wollweberi). These extremely smart relatives to magpies, crows and ravens are either very camera-shy or are flagrant show-offs. Not only are they one of the most intelligent and resourceful families of birds in the world, they are also one of them most social – with very strict social systems set where every individual plays his or her role based on age, size and possible other factors yet to be determined.
The Mexican jay is a gorgeous member of the crow and jay family that is found throughout Mexico and barely touches into parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Very similar to the Florida scrub jays in appearance from my birthplace in SW Florida, these noisy birds are intelligent, curious, and much like their relative – the magpie, are thieves for anything bright, shiny or tasty. This one was photographed in the Chiricahua Mountains on the Arizona-Mexico border.
(click to enlarge)
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