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Admirable Qualities of the Canada Jay

Most of New England never sees Canada Jays (formerly called Gray Jays), but in the northern reaches of the Northeast this bird is familiar to most boreal woods walkers.  It’s not hard to find something to admire about the cleverness of Canada Jays.  Admirable traits include their habit of using their sticky saliva to glue bits of food behind bark or in other vegetation during the summer (as well as the ability to be able to find it again when hungry in the winter), their use of forest tent caterpillar cocoons to hold their nest of twigs together, and their ability to incubate eggs in -20°F during their late winter nesting season.

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11 responses

  1. Linda

    You didn’t mention their ability to swoop in and steal bits of your lunch!

    December 18, 2019 at 8:08 am

    • Ha! Ha! I like that! 🙂 ❤

      December 18, 2019 at 8:24 am

  2. This is our (Canada) National Bird! So glad it got it’s name back.

    December 18, 2019 at 8:43 am

  3. Alice

    Don’t think I’m familiar with these birds. I wonder why they don’t wait a while to build their nests & lay eggs…do they want to use the cocoons, for their nests before the cocoons hatch? They must open the cocoons, so the cocoons won’t hatch while used for their nests, unless the hatched moths become food for the parents or offspring.

    December 18, 2019 at 9:07 am

  4. Rita Pitkin

    I enjoy them whenever I see them. So curious and friendly.

    December 18, 2019 at 9:48 am

  5. ppreeser

    and eat peanuts out of hand

    December 18, 2019 at 10:19 am

  6. Andy Hutchinson

    Just saw some up in Jackman, Maine last weekend! Lovely birds.

    December 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm

  7. Remarkable bird – great photo, Mary!

    December 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

  8. Bill On The Hill

    I’m a few days late here, been busy!
    Beautiful photograph on this Canada Jay Mary as I too have never observed one in my neck of the woods…
    I thoroughly enjoy the antics of our version though & the Chickadees have NO problem getting them off the suet cakes. The Chickadees are in complete control of the pecking order at the bird feeders! Samson versus Delilah, Delilah wins every time… :~)

    December 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

  9. dave asccher

    I lived in Ontario during the late ’60s and early 70s and I was told that the Canada Jay was so called because its call sounded like “Oh Canada Canada Canada” and/or like a rusty, squeaky gate. However, I have not been able to find any samples of its songs online that sound anything like that. Was I misled all those years ago?

    January 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    • I believe the “Oh (Sweet) Canada Canada Canada” song is the White-throated Sparrow’s song! The squeaky gate has been used to describe the Rusty Blackbird’s song…

      January 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm

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