Canada s New National Bird?
January 25, 2017 03:21 pm
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) thinks the gray jay should be named the national bird of Canada. It is hoping the federal government will make it official in time for the country’s 150th birthday in 2017.

The RCGS and Canadian Geographic magazine started the National Bird Project in January 2015. The goal was to choose one bird from the 450 species that live in Canada to become a national symbol.

Nearly 50,000 Canadians voted for the bird they thought best represented Canada. Then a panel of experts considered the top five choices and debated which one should become our national bird. The winner was announced by the RCGS on November 16.

There are many good reasons for choosing the gray jay. It is found in all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, living in our boreal and mountain forests, and it remains in Canada all year round.

According to First Nations folklore, gray jays sometimes help lost hunters find their way home by singing and flying from tree to tree. The birds often accompanied early European explorers in Canada. Today they frequently visit remote lumber camps or research stations, and follow hikers along trails in the forest.

Some people think the gray jay is a bad choice because it isn’t well known. They say one of the other top birds should have been chosen. Three of those birds – the snowy owl, the common loon and the chickadee – are already provincial birds. The fourth bird, the Canada goose, is not popular in much of North America and Europe because its poop makes a mess wherever it goes.

The gray jay is a smart and friendly bird. It is a member of the corvid family, like ravens and crows, and is about the same size as a robin or blue jay. It is sometimes called the whiskey jack (from its Cree name, Wisakedjak) or the Canada jay.
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