Featured in The World As We See It, or as we missed it – Sep 20, 2010
The Grey Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), also Canada Jay, or Whiskey Jack is a member of the crow and jay family (Corvidae) found in the boreal forests across North America north to the tree-line and in subalpine forests of the Rocky Mountains south to New Mexico and Arizona. It is one of three members of the genus Perisoreus, the others being the Siberian Jay, P. infaustus, found from Norway to eastern Russia and the Sichuan Jay, P. internigrans, restricted to the mountains of eastern Tibet and northwestern Sichuan. All three species store food and live year-round on permanent territories in coniferous forests.
Although the Grey Jay can fluff up its dense plumage and give the impression of large size, it is actually one of the smallest jays in the world.
Both sexes typically have light gray underparts, medium-grey upperparts, and a partial black cap on the back of an otherwise white head.
Juvenile plumage (retained until August) is sooty grey all over, though slightly darker on the head.
In addition to the once official ‘Canada Jay’ name, there are, lumberjack, meat-bird, camp robber, venison-hawk, moose-bird, gorby and, most notable of all, ‘whiskeyjack’. This a corruption of an aboriginal name, variously written as wiskedjak, whiskachon, wisakadjak, and many other variants, of a mischievous prankster prominent in Algonquian mythology.
Photographed near Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.
*Canon XSi with 75-300mm lens, f/5.6, 1/400sec, ISO-200, 300mm.