|Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ)
|Date Taken: 2016-09-23|
|Camera: Nikon D90, Digital RAW|
|Exposure: f/5.6, 1/160 seconds|
|Details: Tripod: Yes|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2016-10-06 1:50|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|During a long hiking trail around a lake we met this guy.|
The Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), also Grey Jay, Canada Jay or Whiskey Jack, is a member of the crow and jay family (Corvidae) 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. It is one of three members of the genus Perisoreus, the others being the Siberian jay, P. infaustus, found from Norway to eastern Russia and the Sichuan jay, P. internigrans, restricted to the mountains of eastern Tibet and northwestern Sichuan. All three species store food and live year-round on permanent territories in coniferous forests.
Habitat and distribution
The vast majority of Gray Jays live where there is a strong presence of one or more of black spruce (Picea mariana), white spruce (P. glauca), Engelmann spruce (P. engelmanni), jack pine (Pinus banksiana), or lodgepole pine (P. contorta). Gray Jays do not inhabit the snowy, coniferous, and therefore seemingly appropriate Sierra Nevada of California where no spruce occur. Nor do gray jays live in lower elevations of coastal Alaska or British Columbia dominated by Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis). The key habitat requirements may be sufficiently cold temperatures to ensure successful storage of perishable food and tree bark with sufficiently pliable scales arranged in a shingle-like configuration that allows Gray Jays to wedge food items easily up into dry, concealed storage locations. Storage may also be assisted by the antibacterial properties of the bark and foliage of boreal tree species.
Gray Jays typically breed at two years of age. Pairs are monogamous and remain together for their lifetime, but a male or female will find another mate following the disappearance or death of their partner. Gray Jay pairs breed during March and April, depending on latitude, in permanent, all-purpose territories. Second broods are not attempted, perhaps allowing greater time for food storage.
Gray Jays cooperatively breed. In early June, when broods were 55 to 65 days old, the young fought amongst themselves until dominant juveniles forced their siblings to leave the natal area. Dominant juveniles, known as "stayers", remained with their parents, and "leavers" left the natal territory to join an unrelated pair who failed to breed. Two-thirds of "stayers" were male.
Nesting typically occurs in March and April. Male Gray Jays choose a nest site in a mature coniferous tree and take the lead in construction.
Clutch size is 2 to 5 eggs.
Gray Jay young are altricial. Nestling growth is most rapid from the fourth through the tenth day following hatching. Young are fed food carried in the throats of both parents. They are fed by the accompanying nonbreeding third bird ("stayer") only during the postfledgling period.Food is a dark brown, viscous paste containing primarily arthropods. Young gray jays leave the nest between 22 and 24 days after hatching. Juveniles reach full adult measurements within 5 months.
Gray Jays are omnivorous. Foods eaten include arthropods, small mammals, nestling birds, carrion, fungi, fruits such as chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and seeds.
Gray Jays do not hammer food with their bill as do other jays, but wrench, twist, and tug food apart. Gray Jays commonly carry large food items to nearby trees to eat or process for storage, possibly as defense against large scavengers. They are "scatterhoarders", caching food items among scattered sites for later consumption.
Source: A part of Wikipedia
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