Hide Your Food! This Bird Might Steal It!

Birdwatching Opportunities in washington

Canada Jay

Perisoreus canadensis

Canada Jay - Birdwatching in Okanogan County Photo by Mary Kiesau

"The Canada Jay, also known as the Gray Jay, is a member of the "Corvid" family of birds, which includes other jays like our Stellar's Jay, along with Crows, Ravens, Clark's Nutcrackers and Magpies. Canada Jays spend their lives in northern or high-elevation conifer forests - such as our North Cascades.

We don't typically see them down at our houses, but some of us may get them at winter feeders from time to time. However, if you spend any time in the mountains any time of the year, these "camp robbers" are likely to find you, or rather, your food.

These relatively small, cute, gray and white birds are the ones who will come to your hands for food, though be careful as they will also steal food from your campsites, backpacks and cabins if given the chance. Still, who can blame them! When you are trying to make a living all winter long in the snowy, frigid Cascades, you better collect and cache as much food as you can every chance you get!"

In memoriam of Mary Kiesau, one of the greatest resources we've ever been graced with in Okanogan Country. Gone so soon, but never forgotten.

Canada Jay - Winter Birdwatching in Okanogan County Photo by Mary Kiesau

Fun Facts! 

Information from the Seattle Audubon Society
  • The juvenile Canadian Jays are dark gray with light gray mustaches!
  • They cache food during the summer and fall, using sticky saliva to paste it in bark crevices and other hidden spots, and they eat this stored food through the winter.
  • They are monogamous, and pairs stay together on their territories year round.
Canada Jay - Birdwatching in Okanogan County Photo by Mary Kiesau