Canada Jay Sightings!

Disappointed that we didn’t see any moose this weekend, but we were lucky to find the Cameron Lake Road Canada Jays.

Cameron Lake Road
Male   r-YOYLWOSR  4
Female   r-WOSLROWR 6

I assume the unbanded one is their kid, and they were pretty hostile toward him. I’m checking into that…


Hi Bill,

Thank you VERY much for sending this observation and the photos. The two banded birds you saw are what we call the Cameron Lake Road pair but the unbanded bird is not theirs. Rather, it is a juvenile produced somewhere outside our study area that was trying to get some degree of tolerance/acceptance from the territory-owning Cameron Lake Road adults.

We know it is a new bird from outside, and not the young of the banded pair, because we band all the nestlings produced each year by the banded pairs in the study area. It may be that this bird will “get the message” from the tormenting adults and move on or, more likely, it will go back to wherever it spent the summer and where it will be less likely to be harrassed by the territory owners. If it does stay around, Matt *******, PhD candidate at the U. of Guelph will catch it and band it in the next few days. Matt and his crew arrived in the Park just yesterday and will be spending all this week and next catching up and banding any new birds (like this one) that have appeared in the study area since last June.

Now, I must tell you that your last photo is FANTASTIC! It clearly shows the juvenile in a submissive display—partly spread wings, fanned out, slightly vibrating tail, and open bill (probably because he was giving juvenile begging notes). This bird is saying in Canada Jay body language, “Please, please, don’t beat me up. I’m just a little kid and I’ll be good if you let me hang out with you”. All in all, your photo is the perfect illustration of an immigrant juvenile trying to join, or at least be tolerated by, an adult pair to whom he/she is not related.

Thanks again for sending the photos and congratulations on getting such an outstanding shot of very interesting behaviour.