Home Lecture: Corvids, conifers, & the pinyon jay


Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Buffalo Bill Center of the West


BBCW | Coe Auditorium
720 Sheridan Ave

Other Locations



Feb 01 2024


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lecture: Corvids, conifers, & the pinyon jay

Join us for our first Lunchtime Expedition of 2024, Corvids and Conifers: The unusual case of the pinyon jay, presented by our own Draper Museum Curator Corey Anco.
The in-person talk takes place in the Center’s Coe Auditorium, with a virtual option available. If you prefer to join us online, you may register in advance via Zoom webinar.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

About the Program

Intended as an insult, the expression “bird brain” is generally used to refer to someone with limited intelligence. But are birds really that simple-minded? Hardly! This expression is a disservice to this incredible and diverse class of organisms.
The pinyon jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) belongs to a particularly intelligent group of birds comprising the Corvidae family, which includes crows, ravens, magpies, and jays, among others. The pinyon jay is named for its close association and dependency on the pinyon pine, however, while northwestern Wyoming supports pinyon jays, pinyon pines are not found this far north. How did this close relationship between corvid and conifer develop and how does the pinyon jay survive without the pinyon pine? In this talk, we provide a bird’s eye view of the unique suite of characteristics and strategies that pinyon jays evolved to respond to changing pressures and conditions. This presentation will provide an overview of research on the pinyon jay, and set the stage for a new study taking flight in 2024 by the Draper Natural History Museum and collaborative partners.

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