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Every morning, a huge flock of these beautiful birds visits us on their daily journey around the canyon. They have very specially adapted noses. What is so special about them?


These are Pinion Jays, and as their name implies, they love the nuts from the pinion pines. The pinion nuts are in pine cones that tend to have big gobs of sticky sap on them. Unlike other jays, Pinion Jays have no feathers at the base of their beak, around their nostrils. If they did, the sticky sap would glue their feathers to their nostrils, making it difficult for them to breath.