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New Mexico News

Protections sought for Western bird linked to piñon forests

Protections sought for Western bird linked to piñon forests

Protections sought for Western bird linked to piñon forests

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A bird that is inextricably linked to the piñon and juniper forests that span the Western United States has seen its numbers decline over the last half century. Environmentalists announced Tuesday that they're petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the pinyon jay under the Endangered Species Act as a way to save the species and the trees. A very social bird, the jay is known for stashing away piñon seeds, a habit that helps propagate the next generation of trees. Piñon and juniper forests across the West already have been effected by climate change, hotter and drier conditions and more severe wildfires.