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camp robber

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camp robber n Also Canadian camp robber chiefly NW, CO See Map Cf camp bird n, camp jay n, camp robin n, camp thief n

Any of var birds that frequent camp sites and steal food, esp the Canada jay n.
1876 Dunraven Great Divide 159 WY, [Footnote:] Whisky-jack, or Camp-robber; a very impertinent species of magpie. 1879 Chicago Tribune (IL) 4 Sept 9/3 CO, At Tin Cup I saw numbers of the camp-bird, or camp-robber, as it is often called. These birds are about as large as robins, and will steal all the food they can get hold of. 1882 Ingersoll Knocking Round 52 OR, The Canada jays began to assemble to share in the coming meal. “What are those birds, Steve?” I asked our old head packer. “Well,” he replied, “in Oregon we used to call ’em ‘camp-robbers;’ in Californy I’ve heerd ’em called ‘meat-hawks;’ and up North we called ’em ‘buffalo-birds.’” 1893 Outing 22.424/1 CO, Our scavengers, the “camp robbers,” were on hand too, waiting their turn. They are pretty little gray-and-black-plumaged birds, the size of a pigeon, but with a dismal squawk which they keep up incessantly. 1903 (1950) Austin Land of Little Rain 21 neCA, Very clean and handsome . . is Clark’s crow. . . It is permissible to call him by his common name, “Camp Robber”: he has earned it. Not content with refuse, he pecks open meal sacks, filches whole potatoes, is a gormand for bacon. 1940 Writers’ Program Guide New Mexico 17 NM, On the high timbered mesas and in mountain canyons, the Rocky Mountain magpie (Pica pica hudsonia). . . does not hesitate to filch bright objects and for that reason is called the camp robber, a title bestowed elsewhere on the Canada jay. 1941 Writers’ Program Guide Colorado 19, Camp-robber. . . Rocky Mountain jay. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. Q16, . . Kinds of jays) 27 Infs, chiefly NW, CO, Camp robber; WA20, Canadian camp robber. 1976 Hobbs–Specht Tisha 80 AK, The woods were silent except for here and there a few camp robbers hopping around in the trees, having some last minute arguments. 1984 Republic (Columbus IN) 18 Aug sec B 1/3 WA, I met two avid birders from Washington state. I asked them about this bird. Simultaneously they said, “That’s a camp-robber.” I said, “It must have another name. Isn’t that a colloquialism?” She said, “No, that’s it. Look in your bird book.” It was in the book, but it was a gray jay. 1999 MT Std. (Butte) 18 Apr sec C 2/1, Recently a lady from Sheridan . . . referred to the birds as “camp robbers.” From the nice drawing and brief description she included in the the note, I was able to determine that her frequent visitors were Clark’s nutcrackers. 2006 Missoulian (Missoula MT) 23 Nov sec E 9/1, One of my new friends coaxed a camp-robber jay to alight on his finger.

 

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