Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jay. Called by Linnaeus Corvus cristatus. Still a Corvidae.

In his five volume Ornithological Biography,* written to accompany The Birds of America, Audubon begins the Blue Jay section with “Reader, look at the plate in which are presented three individuals of this beautiful species, — rogues though they be, and thieves, as I would call them, were it fit for me to pass judgement on their actions.” (Friends, Romans, countrymen…)

*Lucy Audubon helped with the editing (JJ’s Franco-American orthography was iffy; he thee’d and thou’d all his life after learning English surrounded by Quakers), and Scotsman William MacGillivray acted as ornithological editor. MacGillivray’s Warbler (Geothlypis tolmiei), named in his honor, is a West Coast bird that resembles the Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia) found (with difficulty) on this end of the country.

Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae), a Sonoran Desert speciality, is not named after Mrs. Audubon, although the 13-year-old Lucy Hunter Baird who inspired the name was herself named after Lucy Audubon. Her father, Spencer Fullerton Baird, was a great friend of the Audubons (JJ named Baird’s Sparrow after him; Coues named Baird’s Sandpiper after him). Lucy’s, the smallest warbler species, was named by J.G. Cooper, son of the William Cooper who was honored with the hawk. Charles Bonaparte named the hawk after Cooper, but Audubon thought he had priority for the naming of this species, calling it after Lord Stanley, so there was some bad blood over this. None spilled, of course… except for the hawks’. This digression could go on…
*

Here’s a first draft of what articles of impeachment for Donald J. Trump could look like.

6 Responses to “Cyanocitta cristata”


  1. 1 Jose Conde May 18, 2017 at 7:49 am

    This guy is a frequent visitor in my Park Slope backyard! Your photos are amazing my friend. What camera are you using?

  2. 4 Shannon May 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Such a beautiful face/capture.


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