Jerry P. Clark Fig.1. Scrub (or California) Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
Primary State Biologist
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Sacramento, CA 924271-0001.

Scott E. Hygnstrom
Extension Wildlife Damage Specialist
Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68583-0819

Fig. 1. Scrub (or California) jay, Aphelocoma coerulescens

Damage and Damage Identification

Jays are omnivorous and therefore may damage several agricultural crops such as nuts, fruits, grains, peas, corn, and berries. They also take insects, small mammals, reptiles, and eggs and young of gamebirds and songbirds. Jays have a pronounced preference for fruits. Cherries, plums, prunes, pears, figs, grapes, and other fruits are often pecked and eaten. Depredations on almonds, pecans, and pistachios can be severe.

Economics of Damage and Control

A 1984 survey of 92 California pistachio growers estimated losses from scrub jays to be slightly less than $50,000 on 14,263 acres. This average crop loss to jays amounted to $3.41 per acre ($8.53/ha). In 1985, an assessment of jay damage in pistachio orchards in Tulare County, California, revealed average losses of $150 per acre ($375/ ha). Pistachio growers may underestimate their losses from scrub jays because the damage is distributed at low levels over most of the bearing trees in the orchard.


Scott E. Hygnstrom; Robert M. Timm; Gary E. Larson

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage Logo 1994


Cooperative Extension Division Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska -Lincoln

United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Damage Control

Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee

Skip Navigation Links