Took longer than I wanted, what with the week before finals being really busy, but here’s the 3rd of the 4 comics I’ve planned to cover my Channel Islands trip on 2/26! The first 2 pages can be found here.
References + More Info:
Island Scrub Jay basics: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/island-scrub-jay
Telling island and mainland Scrub Jays apart: http://www.sibleyguides.com/2007/07/distinguishing-island-and-western-scrub-jays/
Island Scrub Jay evolution: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/jay-evolving-weird-way/
On Santa Cruz Island, my group decided to do a super strenuous hike. This meant more sweat and less birdwatching – but great views.
I only caught a glimpse of the local bird of interest. The Island Scrub Jay is the only bird in North America found only on an island.
These jays are very similar to the mainland California Scrub Jay, but separated by 30 miles or water and 150,000 years of evolution. Island jays are larger and darker in color.
There’s some evidence that the Island Scrub Jays are separating even more into pine seed eaters and acorn eaters.
Both mainland and island jays eat acorns, which grow into oak trees when they store them somewhere and forget. This helps create habitat for a lot of species on the island, including our famous Channel Island Fox.