While outside these days, I am seeing Pinyon Jays (Gymnorhumis cyanocephaus) flying around. They are a big bird with about an 18 inch wingspan, so when they take a low pass close to your head it is a bit intimidating. They are part of the crow family, and look like blue ravens.
I see them around but with the good pinyon crop this year, I am seeing a lot more of them. They do not migrate, but have a fairly large territory and follow the pinyon harvest.
They are bonded pairs and breed February through April. I have a good crop so will likely have a number of pairs in late winter. They also eat Juniper berries and I have a good crop this year.
Pinyon Jays store thousand of Pinyon Nuts, and can find their caches even under snowfall. It will be a lovely winter with these blue Jays hanging around the place. They will also bury enough seeds to replace Pinyon Pines that died back from the Pine Bark Beetles. And so it goes in the circular economy.
I was considering planting a few pinyon nuts myself, but that part of my circular economy will be handled by the Jays. I love the free (to me) help with planting on these steep slopes.
I will collect a share and enjoy watching them swoop through my forest all winter long.