Canada’s new feathered representative is the gray jay, which lives in all 13 provinces and territories and is known as the friendly spirit in Canada’s wild northern boreal and mountain forests.
The bird, also known as the whiskey jack or Canada jay, was chosen by a panel of experts following an extensive online contest hosted by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society in honor of Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary.
According to the Society, the gray jay remains in Canada year-round, is neither hunted nor endangered, and is an “indicator of the health of the boreal and mountain forests and climate change, inspiring a conservation philosophy for all kinds of northern land uses. The gray jay has long been important to Aboriginal Peoples, and will draw all Canadians to their national and provincial/territorial parks, yet unlike the loon and snowy owl, it is not already a provincial or territorial bird.”
Although, the gray jay flew away with top honors in the avian contest, the federal government has yet to officially adopt the bird as Canada’s national symbol. For more details on Canadian Geographic’s official choice for National Bird of Canada, click here.