Canada still hasn’t chosen a national bird and many people are pushing to make it the Gray Jay. I agree. They are cute, hardy and friendly. And, unlike other birds, they choose not to migrate when winter comes. Instead they brave the ice and snow; even nesting and raising chicks in spite of the freezing weather. Recently I was lucky to see several near Long Lake in the Adirondacks.
The secret to their survival is to cache bits of food under the loose bark of conifer trees. They can hide as many as 1,000 little food packets a day, and astonishingly remember where each one is. This is due to a highly developed hippocampus region in their brain. This gives them an unprecedented memory.
So the next time you are hiking in a northern boreal forest keep an eye open for this gregarious. hardy bird.