Gray Jay
Perisoreus canadensis

f5 @ 1/4000s, ISO:800, Nikon D3S w 500mm


"Gray Jay," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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), Englemann 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 and neither of the two named pines 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. An exception to this general picture may be the well-marked subspecies P. c. obscurus, once given separate specific status as the 'Oregon jay'. It lives right down to the coast from Washington to northern California in the absence of cold temperatures or the putatively necessary tree species.
Dalton Highway, Alaska
 
10/07/2014