Steller’s Jays will also eat berries, wild fruit, insects such as beetles and bees. . The speaker for the playbacks was hidden in natural vegetation and placed between 15 m and 20 m from the feeder approximately 2 m off the ground. Templeton 2016). To standardize across stimuli and exemplars, we used a 50% duty cycle and peak amplitude was set to 80 dB SPL A-weighting at 1 m using an Extech 407730 sound level meter (Extech Instruments, Nashua, NH) We made the stimuli in Raven Pro 1.4 (Charif et al. You’ve got to beat your wings to earn your rewards! The risk posed to an animal by a given predator can vary depending upon many factors, such as type of predator (Seyfarth et al. Northern goshawks are large forest hawks (males approximately 700–925 g; females approximately 980–1150 g; Squires and Reynolds 1997) that are fast and maneuverable hunters in dense forests. Uetz The same subspecies of Steller’s jay, Cyanocitta stelleri annectens, occurs at both of these sites (Walker et al. The lowercase letters indicate differences at P < 0.05. D 1980), body size (Templeton et al. DJ Steller’s jays at the feeders were exposed to 5 acoustic stimuli. In contrast, when jays hear a predator, they know its general location but not much else about it. The Steller’s jay’s nest is built by both the male and female in coniferous trees, or sometimes in deciduous trees or shrubs, and is made from twigs, leaves, moss and dry leaves held together with mud. To minimize the chance that we tested the same jays at different feeders, we chose feeders that were far apart: The average distance between feeders was 15 km and the closest feeders were 3 km apart. ML DL We conducted experiments at bird feeders in the Missoula Valley, MT (46°52′19′′ N, 114°59′38′′ W) and the Methow Valley, WA (48°31′34′′ N, 120°10’26” W). Because we were unable to identify individuals within the flocks, this was meant as a measurement of the flock response to the stimuli. Nystrand Owls and hawks can sometimes be found by following agitated jays and crows. Home > Journals > Canadian Journal of Zoology > List of Issues > Volume 77, Number 11, December 1999 > A temporal shift in Steller's jay predation on bird eggs Article « Previous TOC Next » Mitchell 2014). We studied the assessment of risk and alarm calls of Steller’s jays (Cyanocitta stelleri)—a species with a vocal repertoire that includes 2 alarm calls, the wah (Figure 1a) and wek (Figure 1b) call, as well as mimicking calls of predators (Figure 1c) (Walker et al. 2009). When Steller’s jays saw a sharp-shinned hawk they gave more wah calls than the control and northern pygmy-owl (Figure 4a; visual sharp-shinned vs. visual pygmy-owl: P = 0.010; visual sharp-shinned vs. visual control: P < 0.001; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic pygmy-owl: P = 0.002; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic control: P < 0.001) with more wah elements than the other stimuli except seeing the northern goshawk (Figure 4b; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic sharp-shinned: P = 0.017; visual sharp-shinned vs. visual goshawk: P = 0.936; visual sharp-shinned vs. visual pygmy-owl: P = 0.006; visual sharp-shinned vs. visual control: P = 0.009; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic goshawk: P = 0.051; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic pygmy-owl: P = 0.37; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic control: P = 0.001) and increased the duty cycle of their wek calls in comparison to hearing a sharp-shinned hawk (Figure 4c; visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic sharp-shinned: P = 0.027). Again, there were no differences between stimuli in the duration of the wah elements (P = 0.396) or the duration of the intervals between the wahs (P = 0.144), only in the ratio of wah element duration to interval duration. 2016) but in some places, they form large flocks. This is because of how size affects the aerodynamics of flight (Templeton et al. All rights reserved. Avery KE AC The longer they stayed away from the feeder the more threatening the predator. They often soar and then dive on their prey from above. Brown Top Answer. A large, dark jay of evergreen forests in the mountainous West. Watson Black squares indicate mean values. GE PROTECTION / THREATS / STATUS: Steller’s Jay has typical predators, such as Cooper’s Hawks. Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a bird native to western North America, closely related to the blue jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. Lucon-Xiccato Griesser Experience plays a large part in how prey species will respond to particular predators because cognitive properties and perception of risk can be closely linked to previous experience (Stankowich and Blumstein 2005; Chivers et al. Clark We measured 11 acoustic variables (Figure 1): 1) The average number of wah calls during the exposure period, 2) the average number of elements per wah calls, 3) the average duration of each wah element, and 4) the average duration of the interval between each wah element within a wah call, 5) the ratio of wah element duration to interval duration between the wahs (i.e., wah duty cycle), 6) the average number of wek calls during the exposure period, 7) the average number of elements per wek calls, 8) the average duration of each wek element, 9) the average duration of the interval between each wek element, 10) the ratio of wek element duration to interval duration between weks (i.e., wek duty cycle), and 11) the average number of red-tailed hawk mimetic calls during the exposure period. We presented Steller’s jays with 4 robotic birds matched to the acoustic stimuli: Townsend’s solitaire (adult), northern pygmy-owl (adult male), sharp-shinned hawk (adult female), and a northern goshawk (yearling female). Oops! These blue-and-black crested corvids are hard to miss. SD Predators can vary in the risk they pose, depending upon the factors such as body size, maneuverability, hunting strategy, and diet. 2005; Soard and Ritchison 2009; Fallow and Magrath 2010; Sieving et al. SM A large, dark jay of evergreen forests in the mountainous West. E And because predation is such a strong selective force, it is not surprising that prey use information from several sources to assess risk. We investigated the following 2 questions: 1) how do Steller’s jays assess risk using different predator detection cues across different predators and 2) how do these factors influence their alarm calls? If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. We measured the latency to resume foraging of the flock as a proxy for threat level. For iNaturalist user rprovost, the sighting of a Steller’s jay is slightly more prosaic. We recorded the vocalizations with a Sennheiser 67 shotgun microphone (Sennheiser, Wedemark, Germany) into a Marantz PMD 661 (Marantz, Kanagawa, Japan) recorder at 48 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit depth. . Yet it is not clear if animals differentially use various cue types to assess risk, nor how they incorporate this information into their antipredator behaviors. The bracket next to the predator indicates the relative size of an average Steller’s jay in comparison to the predator. . There were very few red-tailed hawk mimetic calls to any of the visual stimuli and they were not significantly different from one another or the matched acoustic stimuli (P < 0.05). E 2008) and saved the audio files as 24-bit WAV files. Variation and change in behavior: a comment on Loftus et al. Finn Mobbing will sometimes consist of mixed species flocks and is employed as an anti-predator response. Size is one factor that may be important in the risk a predator poses to prey. We presented free-living, stable flocks of Steller’s jays with predator stimuli at feeding stations during the winter months. Previous studies have shown that information about predators can be encoded in different ways. Status and Distribution Common. For the average number of call variables (wah, wek, and red-tailed hawk mimics), we counted the number of each call type for the exposure period then averaged by the exposure period (2 min for acoustic playbacks and 4 min for robo-raptor presentations) and analyzed as an average per exposure period (e.g., for a given experiment, the number of wah calls were added and divided by the duration of the exposure period). 2016). 2008): Small birds have higher power-to-mass ratios and can turn and accelerate faster than larger birds. Greene 2015). Ridley Furthermore, Steller’s jays altered the acoustic structure of their alarm calls depending on the species of raptor and whether they saw or heard them. Robertson This may have been since the robotic raptors were all presented fairly close to the feeders (approximately 15–20 m away). . Eggers Black bars indicate median values. The random effect of feeder location was significant in all models (P < 0.05) and so, it was kept in each model to account for those differences while testing the fixed effects. 1998; Drennen 2006). Billings Some predators hunt by stealth and require the element of surprise, whereas others chase down their prey (Figure 2). in your business, you’ll find that things won’t happen just by talking about them. JW 2005). They did not distinguish between seeing or hearing a sharp-shinned hawk (visual sharp-shinned vs. acoustic sharp-shinned: P = 0.391; Figure 3) but they took longer to return to foraging when they saw a goshawk than when they heard a goshawk (visual goshawk vs. acoustic goshawk: P = 0.013; Figure 3). 2005), hunting strategy (Sherbrooke 2008), behavior (Marler 1955; Lima and Dill 1990; Caro 2005; Bradbury and Vehrencamp 2011), distance (Stankowich and Coss 2006), or habitat (Eggers et al. Head movements were controlled by an Arduino computer (Arduino, Torino, Italy). E-mail: alexiscbillings@gmail.com. LM . Steller’s jays also increased the duty cycle of their wek call, meaning the wek elements were longer than the intervals between the wek elements (Stimuli × Exposure × Cue: χ2 = 20.716, df = 10, P = 0.023) in comparison to hearing a northern goshawk (Figure 4c; visual goshawk vs. acoustic goshawk: P = 0.023). Shiny objects. 1999). Studies of how animals respond to different types of predators have been instrumental in our understanding of cognitive and perceptual abilities (Blumstein and Armitage 1997; Seyfarth and Cheney 2003; Seyfarth and Cheney 2010). 2010; Suzuki 2014). M Future research with playback studies would be fascinating to test if these changes are to communicate information about threat level to conspecifics or to deter predators. JW Based on size, hunting strategy and diet, northern pygmy-owls probably pose the smallest threat to Steller’s Jays. Many animals give alarm calls in response to a predator. What eats a steller jay? This species is not endangered. Red-tailed hawks are about 10 times as large (approximately 1000 g) as Steller’s jays. AK The birds are also consummate mimics, using predator calls to scare other birds away from feeders. There is no information on home ranges for winter flocks of Steller’s jays. message += '. . Steller’s jays varied the production of their wah, wek, and mimetic red-tailed hawk calls in response to different raptors and different detection cues. DW This shows that there is an interaction between predator detection cue and predator species used in assessment of risk. Instead, they decreased the duty cycle of their wah call in comparison to the other acoustic stimuli (Figure 4e; acoustic sharp-shinned vs. acoustic pygmy-owl: P = 0.028). We presented flocks of Steller’s Jays with stimuli of 4 species of raptors—northern pygmy owl (Glaucidium gnoma), sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). This work was supported by the University of Montana, the Dan Pletscher Avian Science Scholarship (to A.C.B.) 1980; Griesser 2009). Unexpectedly, when Steller’s jays saw a northern pygmy owl they also increased the duty cycle of their wek call similar to seeing a sharp-shinned hawk or a northern goshawk (Figure 4c; visual pygmy-owl vs. visual sharp-shinned: P = 0.678; visual pygmy-owl vs. visual goshawk: P = 0.972). Furthermore, Steller’s jays altered the acoustic structure of their alarm calls depending on the species of raptor and whether they saw or heard them. However, we could not control for the experience of the free-living Steller’s jays. VR The assessment of risk from different predator cues varied with different species of raptors: Jays responded to sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) with an increase in latency to resume foraging regardless of whether they were seen or heard, whereas latency responses to northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) were longer if they were seen versus if they were heard. In contrast, acoustic cues about predators are more ambiguous, as there is less certainty about the predator’s identity, location, movement, and behavior (Billings et al. TP The arrows indicate their most common hunting strategy. Mean ± SE of the amount of time it took the Steller’s jays to resume foraging to the 5 acoustic predator stimuli and the 4 visual predator stimuli. We conducted playback experiments at 18 feeders during the winters of 2012–2015. Laundre GW S Many species of jays and their allies are known to mimic the sounds of other animals, including predators. Northern goshawks eat a wide variety of medium to large mammals and birds (Squires and Reynolds 1997). . Steller's Jay are frequent scavengers in picnic areas and campgrounds in the northwest forests and central mountains from Alaska to Arizona and New Mexico. Steller’s Jays are common in forest wildernesses but are also fixtures of campgrounds, parklands, and backyards, where they are quick to spy bird feeders as well as unattended picnic items. All jays mob predators. . The variation in the speaker distance from the feeder was due to the variation in distance of the vegetation available to hide the speaker. We slowly lowered and raised the false tree trunk from a distance (approximately 15–20 m) using a modified radio-controlled garage door opener. We conclude that their production of these mimetic calls is not random, nor associated with sexual selection since. Cheney For the playback experiments, the calls were played from an Apple iPhone 4 (Model No. Steller’s Jays are a common sight in the forests of the Western United States. Thus, hearing a predator might be fundamentally more dangerous than seeing it (Blumstein 2000; Billings et al. Suzuki Arcata, CA; B) spectrogram of a Steller's jay imitation of the kee-aah call, recorded October 2015 in Arcata, CA. Colombelli-Négrel Townsend’s solitaires (control) and northern pygmy-owls were responded to as low threat regardless of being seen or heard. Containing the area in which cats wander outside also reduces attacks. Red-tailed hawks probably pose a moderate threat to Steller’s jays because although they are appropriately sized to take Steller’s jays, their hunting strategy and diet make them less threatening. Wheatcroft Gurung Consistent with their foraging behavior, Steller’s jays produced different alarm calls depending on whether they saw or heard a northern goshawk. Steller’s Jays are a familiar sight here in the redwoods of Northern California. Sharp-shinned hawks eat mainly small birds, with the mean prey size less than 50 g. However, they can eat larger birds such as American robins and have been recorded killing birds as large as ruffed grouse (>550 g; Bildstein and Meyer 2000). Upper and lower limits of boxes indicate 25% and 75% quartiles, respectively. An acoustic stimulus and a visual stimulus were never presented on the same day. J Mean ± SE of (a) the average number of wah calls given, (b) the average number of wah elements per wah call, (c) the average wek duty cycle (duty cycle is the ratio of sound vs. silence), (d) the average wek elements per wek call, (e) the average wah duty cycle, and (f) the average number of red-tailed hawk mimetic calls. . . When a predator is close by Steller’s Jay s are quick to respond to the threat. LE Creating an incentive for our cats to stay inside is also a helpful tool since many cats roam outside due to boredom in their homes. (a) A wah call, (b) a wek call, and (c) a red-tailed hawk call followed by a Steller’s jay red-tailed hawk mimetic call. Many birds are harmed each year due to predator attacks – birds such as Steller’s Jays are often hurt after being ambushed by a cat when foraging on ground-level. The white bars indicate response to the acoustic stimuli and the gray bars indicate response to the visual stimuli. To test whether the difference in assessment is reflected in their alarm calls, we recorded the alarm calls given by Steller’s jays to determine if and how they alter them in response to different stimuli. Keeping Steller ’ s jays primarily live in dense forests, Mountains, and pine jay both! 1.4 ( Charif et al number 1258003 to E.G give them the gray indicate., and call length ( Ellis 2008 ; Yorzinski and Vehrencamp 2009 ; Colombelli-Négrel et.... 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