Home Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History Home
Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus

Common Name:
Pinyon Jay


Jefferson River, Montana   August 1, 1805

char-âh, char-âh, char-âh

Lewis spotted some blue birds along the Jefferson River that were unfamiliar to him.  His attempt to collect one failed, so we are left with the briefest description of a blue bird the size of a robin.  The location and simple description fit the size, color, and distribution of the pinyon jay, moreso than any other bird in that area.

Aptly named, this bird feeds on pinyon and other conifer seed, and relies on pinyon-juniper habitat for its survival.

Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, August 1, 1805--I also saw at the top of the mountain among some scattering pine a blue bird about the size of a common ...  more>>

References Wied, Prince Maximilian zu, Reise in daas innere Nord-America, Vol. 2, pg. 22, Coblenz, 1841

see following caption

See following caption
pinyon jay

Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice