Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Jeff Black

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Micaela Szykman Gunther

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Mark A. Colwell

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Avian vocal mimicry has been described in a variety of contexts, suggesting its function is multifaceted within and across species; however, basic empirical data describing mimetic signal prevalence and context is lacking for numerous species. I examined occurrence and context of mimicked red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) calls over a 12-month period in a wild population of 49 individually color-marked Steller’s jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) and reviewed the occurrence of the behavior in historic re-sight data. I documented mimicry of red-shouldered hawk calls in 14 of 49 (28.6%) jays during the study. Hawk mimicry occurred more often during the early breeding season when jays were within home territories, while mates were present and aggression was absent. Younger, larger, and bolder jays were most likely to perform imitations. These results suggest jays individually vary in mimetic propensity, and individuals’ proclivity for mimicry may be influenced by social and ecological contexts, physical characteristics, and personality traits.

Citation Style

Journal of Wildlife Management

Included in

Ornithology Commons