Some Winter Wildlife in Algonquin Provincial Park - Page 2 of 2

 7 March 2009

Along the Opeongo Road we saw Blue Jays and Gray Jays together, which is infrequent in most parts of North America where birders live. In Algonquin Park, Blue Jays often spend the winter on Gray Jay territories where they depend somewhat on Gray Jays by stealing their cached food. These Blue Jays are called "Satellite Jays" because of their association with Gray Jays in winter.


"Algonquin Stand Off"


Gray Jay (or Canada Jay) on Opeongo Road in Algonquin Park on 7 March 2009. One of Dan Strickland's banded Gray Jays and part of his long-term study. Dan is the world's expert and he has studied Gray Jays every year since the late 1960s. They love soft food such as pieces of bread, cheese, raisins and meat, which they immediately store and return for more. Gray Jays feed stored food to their young. They are nest building now.


This winter we saw more Blue Jays than last winter probably because mast crops (acorns, beechnuts, hazelnuts, berries) were better last summer. Blue Jays sometimes follow Gray Jays to see where they were caching food.


Gray Jay (or Whisky Jack) on Opeongo Road, Algonquin Provincial Park, on 7 March 2009. We saw three at the gate near Cameron Lake Road and five at the bridge over Opeongo Creek. We also saw them at the beginning of Spruce Bog Trail near the Visitor Centre. You don't find Gray Jays; they find you.


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