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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sheldon Cooper's Bird

This is a blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata
I was watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory on television last night. This story is therefore a few years late, but I am writing it anyway for those who haven't heard about it and because I love blue jays.

In episode 9 of season 5 of The Big Bang Theory, "Ornithophobia Diffusion," a bird lands outside Sheldon's window. It won't go away. Sheldon is afraid of birds. Funny things happen.

What really got my attention is that he called the bird a blue jay. It was not. It was a black-throated magpie-jay, a Mexican bird that really should not have been outside his window in Pasadena. Ok, so maybe it was an escaped pet. (Click here to see a black-throated magpie-jay.)

I have lived in places in the west (northern Idaho, just south of Seattle, and Vancouver) where people sometimes call the Stellar's jay, Cyanocitta stelleri, a blue jay. Although it is a jay and it is blue, the name blue jay is already taken by our eastern bird, C. cristata. (Click here to see a little movie of a Steller's jay.)

The bird's identity been discussed thoroughly on the Internet already. The television show's representatives say Sheldon's fear of birds was responsible for his lack of familiarity with species and  consequent misidentification. The episode aired on November 10, 2011. I just saw it. That's not a blue jay.

This is a blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata





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