Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Whiskeyjack/Wild Bird

 Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) aka Whiskeyjack, Algonquin Provincial Park

Gray jays live in Canada's northern woods, a species that lives there year round. Another name for them is Wiskeyjacks, a corruption of a First Nation's word for a mischievous spirit that likes to play tricks on people.  They are quite tame, well known for seeking out people and hoping for handouts.

 Are these for ME?!

Whiskeyjacks survive Canada's long, cold winters by eating the food they've gathered all summer and fall, which they've hidden under bark, lichen, or other nooks and crannies.

 All mine!

Perhaps you have noticed the bands around this Whiskeyjack's legs.  In the 1960s a naturalist (Russ Rutter) working in Algonquin Provincial Park decided to learn more about gray jays' ecology and nesting behaviour.  Gray jays are social birds and easily captured in baited traps long enough to attach coloured bands around their legs.

 I wonder if I can fit more into my mouth

Each gray jay was given a different band colour combination. Rutter learned that gray jays lived a long time and in permanent territories.  Although Rutter died in 1976, others have carried the study on and, in fact, studies of similar species - Siberian Jays (Sweden) and Sicuan Jays (China) - are now also being conducted.

So tame some will eat out of a human hand

I am joining Stewart M's Wild Bird Wednesday HERE

55 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I've not heard of this bird before but any bird that will eat from your hand rates high on my list. There's no other feeling like the slight weight and pointing claws of a bird in hand - wonderful.

guild-rez said...

Great pictures of the Gray Jay. Haven't seen any in Guildwood. But will keep my eyes open while walking in our Scarborough Bluffs area.
Thank you,
Gisela.

Tina´s PicStory said...

wow! great pics! :)

Beth Edwards said...

i'm guessing those bands on their legs are for keeping track of them?

such cuties. (:

Sandra said...

they are really sweet and cute little guys. thanks for the info on the bands, my curiosity was killing me as i scrolled down.

Judy @ daily yarns said...

How neat is that for them to be so tame. He's a cute one, he reminds me of the Dark-eyed Junco's we have in the winter months.

Muffy's Marks said...

Never heard of this bird before! They sure are cuties, your photos of them are awesome.

Kate said...

Perfect photos...al of them!

Rebecca said...

I did notice those bands. I love the photo eating from the hand.

Kathy said...

Cute little bird, but was this particular one banded so long ago? Surely not!

Susan said...

Such a cute little guy! Amazing they are so tame.

Stephanie said...

Cute looking bird. I played the sound of a Whiskey Jack on YouTube yesterday, interesting sounds. Great shots.

rainfield61 said...

What a lovely bird.

So tame, to be a pet.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful birds. I have the Blue Jays here who love peanuts but are hesitant to come too close to people.

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

What a cute little bird. I love the photo of all that food in his mouth and the one where he is sitting on your hand.

TexWisGirl said...

really cute little guys! :)

Paul in Powell River said...

Terrific post!!

LONDONLULU said...

These are beautiful, and I can't believe how tame they are! How nice to hear the work goes on to better understand these creatures.

Gillian Olson said...

They are beautiful birds, and pretty smart too. I once had one take part of my picnic lunch as soon as I had my back turned. Great series.

eileeninmd said...

Your Gray jays are so cute, I would love to hand feed the birds. I have heard of the Algonquin Park and would love to visit there someday. Awesome photos.

i stora drag said...

Great shots and such a sweet little bird! Greetings Pia

Andrea said...

What an adoraabale curious little bird. What fun you must have had taking these picturs and your captions are perfect. We don't have Gray Jays here, we have Blue Jays that are anything but friendly (though beautiful). I do know, every time I come to your blog, that I need to take a trip to Canada and take in some of the beauty and wonderful creatures. Thank you for another fun visit.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We've seen gray jays when camping ...I've heard them called 'camp robbers'. Very interesting about the study and your pictures are wonderful.

Findlay Wilde said...

Your post was so interesting. I'd love to try feeding him. From Findlay

RedPat said...

It's magic to have a bird eat from your hand! Great post, EG!

Adam Jones said...

That's incredible to see them feeding from the hand.

Lois Evensen said...

What a pretty little guy and so TAME! Incredible. Very nice shots. :)

mick said...

Great photos. That bird is certainly determined to eat all that's on offer.

bailey-road.com said...

What adorable birds! Love these photos.

Gary said...

Great close ups!! I haven't seen any this year. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Giga said...

Wspaniałe zdjęcia i ciekawe informacje. Ostatnie zdjęcie jest super. Pozdrawiam.
Great photos and interesting information. Last picture is awesome. Yours.

Carole M. said...

how beautiful, a lovely bird and photographs to share

Craver Vii said...

I saw how some people patiently trained bluebirds to eat from their hands. It would be so nice to do that, but I don't think I could wait and persevere as my friends did. Too many distractions.

Great pics!!

Debbie said...

ooooohhhhh my heart skipped a beat!!

what a cutie, you got some awesome shots!!

Janie said...

We have gray jays here, locally called camp or robber jays because they're so eager to come into camp and take whatever food they can find. Cute pics of your jays.

Rose said...

Oh, he is cute and I am jealous...to have a bird eat from my hand would be wonderful.

Michelle said...

How sweet that it will eat from your hand.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Hmm, learned something today. Gotta love something named wiskeyjacks.

Mary said...

What a very cute little guy. Sweet to eat from hand. I love it.

Indrani said...

Camouflages so well with background. Lovely captures.

Sue said...

Those birds are so cute. They really have personality!

=)

Phil said...

An interesting and informative post - thanks for sharing.

Kerri said...

Oh He's AWESOME!

see you there! said...

Great photos and wonderful info on a bird I have never heard of. Loved the shot with his beak full, LOL!

Darla

George said...

These are marvelous photos of the jay. I must admit that I hadn't heard of this particular bird before.

Les fous du cap said...

Hi,
Beautiful jewelry ;-)
Céline & Philippe

NatureFootstep said...

that´s a wonderful bird. :) Great shots of it.

Marie said...

What a wonderful bird! The fact that it is so tame is just marvelous! I had heard of a Whiskeyjack before. When I was young my Mom and I read a book about a young Boston girl going to Canada to be with relatives for a while and falling in love with a Mounted Police officer. It was based on a true story, and is called Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. In it Mike tells Kathy that her eyes are as grey as a Whiskeyjacks. :-) It became one of my favorite books and I' ve re-read it many times! But this was the first time I'd ever seen one! I had imagined it to look more like our Bluejay.

Small City Scenes said...

What a delightful bird. Thanks for all the info too. MB

Larry said...

This is a wonderful post CG. We have Whiskeyjacks nearby at Lassen Volcanic National Park. We always get to see them when they come right down to our campsites.

kaye said...

all I can say is wow! He sure looks like a friendly little fellow

Mary Howell Cromer said...

How utterly ADORABLE!!!

Stewart M said...

I have to wonder what the life story of "Right - green over blue, Left - Metal" is.

I became involved in banding waders after seeing a colour banded bird on the beach and sending in the record - seems a long time ago!

Thanks for linking to WBW

Stewart M - Australia

Cezar and Léia said...

Cute birds, you got wonderful portraits!
Léia

Neil said...

Great photos I like the one with his mouth full.

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.