image by Judy Shire

Blue Jay: Cyanocitta cristata

FTLComm - Tisdale - Monday, November 27, 2006

The jays, magpies, crows and ravens are all in the same family of birds and as such eat similar things, in this case that is about everything. This family of birds are omnivorous which means like humans they are opportunists who can survive in pretty much what ever they can fine. Most species of birds are quite different from one another with the males being a specific colouration and size and females often significantly different but with this family of birds the markings and appearance of both sexes are the same.

Magpies, crows and ravens are black, well except for the boldly marked magpie and a version of the raven seen in southern United States and TV commericals but the jays are colourful.

The two jays that can be found in the boreal forest or along its edges are the Blue Jay and the Gray Jay which is commonly called Whiskey Jacks in BC and the Yukon. What is remarkable about this whole family of birds is that they have a fairly serious association with legends and superstition. The Raven and Crow are mythologised in most First Nations cultures and the West Coast people identify the Raven as the embodyment of the "trickster", one of the most impressive costumes worn in ceromonial dances of the Hyda and Helssic people is the magnificient Trickster costume with its six foot long snapping bill.

Blue Jays and Whiskey Jacks are often considered a very good omen for a camp and northern people of all cultures are happy to see one of these birds in their yard as they feel they have been favoured by the presence of a distinguished guest.

The blue jay has a huge part of North America as its home territory largely because of the prevalence of forest in much of southern Canada including much of Ontario. (Though they did win the world series twice, they have been dragging their tail feathers for the last few seasons.)




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