Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack) - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack) - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack) - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack) - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack)
Perisoreus canadensis

Jays and Crows
Corvid Family (Corvidae)

Size: Length: 25.5-33 cm Wingspan: 41-45 cm

Description: The comical antics of the gray jay have amused countless visitors to the mountains. They are easily identified as a medium sized gray bird that sites with an erect posture. The head is white with a short dark bill. The dark eye has a gray patch spreading towards the nape and rear of the neck. The breast is light, becoming darker towards the belly. The back and wings are also gray. The tail extends approximately half the length of the body. Juveniles are similar, but much darker gray in colour.

Similar Species: The Clark's nutcracker is often confused with the gray jay. Once identified though, the two birds are very different. The gray jay has a much shorter beak than the cone cracking nutcracker. Gray jays also lack the black and white pattern so visible in the wings of nutcrackers.

Range: They are found across much of Canada and the western United States and are common year-round throughout the Canadian and American Rockies

Habitat: They prefer coniferous and mixed wood forests.

Diet: They are omnivorous, taking advantage of whatever situation arises. They will eat insects, eggs, nestlings, carrion, berries, fruit, seeds and whatever else happens to lie around unattended. They, along with the Clarke's nutcracker have earned the nickname "Camp Robber", and should you turn your back on your lunch, it may disappear in a flurry of gray feathers.

Nesting: The nest is usually well hidden within the branches of a spruce tree or other conifer. They build a thick-walled cup of grasses, twigs, bark, moss, lichens and other materials. The inside is padded with feathers, moss, fur and other soft items. The female lays between 3 and 4 (may be as many as 5) pale greenish or gray-green spotted eggs. Incubation is by the female, with the altricial nestlings arriving after 16-18 days.

The young are cared for by both parents, eventually fledging after approximately 15 days.

Related Links:

Hinterland Who's Who - Gray Jay

Search for recent Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack) sightings

Hire an expert guide to help you locate Gray/Canada Jay (Whiskey Jack)

Bird watching in the Canadian Rockies offers endless opportunities for seeing new species. Mountain Nature Network is your source for birding and bird biology.


All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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