The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology was contacted to inquire whether any similarly colored jays are known to have been encountered and if so possible causes for the strange pigmentation. While staff are unaware any such birds, two possible explanations were offered: (1) a genetic factor causing erythrism, or (2) some sort of environmental staining. One respondent thought that it looks like staining, such as a fluorescent colorant having been applied for a science project. Thus an actual cause for the pink plumage remains in the realm of speculation and is unlikely to be resolved without having feather samples from the jay to subject to analysis.
Diet-induced erythrism has been observed in other species of birds. The introduction and spread of nonnative red berry bearing shrubs, e.g. bush honeysuckles Lonicera spp., is suspected of causing unusually red feathering in Baltimore Orioles occurring in southeastern Canada, and reddish House Sparrows reported in Scotland are thought to have been diet induced.