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Gray Jay at Picnic Table If you look into any North American bird book, they will note that in Canada or the Northern US, these love to hang out around camp sites and picnic tables. I had never seen one so I had big hopes when I finally went to Yellowstone NP in 2015. True, enough, we had a picnic lunch at a deserted campground (a rarity in Yellowstone in July) and it didn't take long for a few of these fellows to show up looking for handouts. The Jay family is great - often beautiful colors (even this one, although not as bright as the Blue Jays, is still an appealing mix of grays), large and noisy, and apparently one of the most intelligent non-human animals. Fall,Geotagged,Gray Jay,Perisoreus canadensis,United States,Wyoming,Yellowstone National Park Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Gray Jay at Picnic Table

If you look into any North American bird book, they will note that in Canada or the Northern US, these love to hang out around camp sites and picnic tables. I had never seen one so I had big hopes when I finally went to Yellowstone NP in 2015. True, enough, we had a picnic lunch at a deserted campground (a rarity in Yellowstone in July) and it didn't take long for a few of these fellows to show up looking for handouts. The Jay family is great - often beautiful colors (even this one, although not as bright as the Blue Jays, is still an appealing mix of grays), large and noisy, and apparently one of the most intelligent non-human animals.

    comments (2)

  1. I love jays, in particular for their intelligence like you describe. As an example of somewhat related family member, in the Netherlands the jackdaw is extremely common. It's the only bird in our country able to recognize its own reflection, whereas any other local bird attacks a window thinking its a competitor it is seeing.

    And a second example that demonstrates their ability to improvise and "think on their feet": a particular group of jackdaws had been trying to take over a large owl's nest but failed for 2 years. This 3rd year they figured out a strategy: they stuffed the nest with so much stuff that the owl no longer fits. I find that hilarious.
    Posted 4 years ago
    1. Yes, I consider crows and jays as being very similar, all in the family Corvidae. You have no doubt heard about the New Caledonian Crow - apparently one of the only animals (and I think the only bird) which not only uses tools but actually constructs them! I love the Jackdaw solution, even if the Owl was probably less than thrilled. I saw my first Jackdaw ever in the Netherlands - they are uncommon in Germany but quite common in your country. Interestingly, my Gray Jay has a much lighter head than the one in the Gray Jay profile photo. I think that there is quite a lot of regional variation. Just like for the Eurasian Jay, the ones in the Middle East look very different from those of Central Europe. Posted 4 years ago

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The Gray Jay, also Grey Jay, Canada Jay, or Whiskey Jack, is a member of the crow and jay family 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.

Similar species: Passerines
Species identified by Barry
View Barry's profile

By Barry

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Uploaded Apr 24, 2018. Captured Sep 27, 2015 23:49 in 203-229 Norris Canyon Rd, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA.
  • Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
  • f/4.5
  • 1/125s
  • ISO100
  • 26.868mm