It’s not the Snowy Owl, and it’s definitely not the Loon. The Winner of the National Geographic Society is the Gray Jay. A result which was a surprise to many fans of the other birds on the list.
The Gray Jay also known as the ‘whiskey jack’ is a species mainly found in the Boreal forest across Canada. They are just a little bigger than a robin with a mix of grayish tones especially around the neck area and feathers with a black cap. The Gray Jay species, just like Canadians, are winter-loving, curious, and friendly birds.
Dr Ryan Norris at Guelph University is one of leading experts of Gray Jay research in Canada and he says that with this victory, awareness will be brought to the species and forest it lives in, ” I think we have an opportunity to use the Gray Jay to bring awareness to the Boreal forest. Afterall, it is the largest terrestrial eco-system in Canada and it covers much of the land in the Canada.” A fun fact about the Gray Jay is that they have an uncanny memory meaning they will never forget where they stash any of items it picks up in the forest and hides.
According to Dr Norris, the major reasons why the Loon, a bird located on our Canadian dollar was not selected is because it is already the provincial bird of Ontario and mainly spends most of its time south of the border as a migratory species.
The Bird will be announced as the national bird of Canada as part of 150th celebrations. For now, people will have to accept the fact that the Grey Jay will be our national bird.