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Gray Jay - Picnic Bird

Hang on to that sandwich! Here come the jays!

Often called the Camp Robber or Whiskey Jack, the mountain-dwelling Gray Jay will crash a picnic faster than hungry ants. The robber escapes with edible tidbits and caches them in trees with its sticky saliva, reclaiming its stored food in the cold, snowy winter. The nickname "Whiskey Jack" comes from the Athabaskan Tlingit name for this species, wiss-ka-tjon. White settlers pronounced it "Whiskey John," then shortened "John" to "Jack."

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Gray Jay, Picnic Bird

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!
[Call of the Gray Jay]
Imagine visiting Mt. Rainier National Park on a sunny summer day. Or Yellowstone, or Mt. Katahdin (pronounced kuh-TAH-din) in Maine. You spread out sandwiches and chips on a picnic table and turn to grab a cold drink from the cooler, when an uninvited guest arrives, the Gray Jay.
[Call of the Gray Jay]
Often called the Camp Robber or Whiskey Jack, the mountain-dwelling Gray Jay seems to crash a picnic even faster than hungry ants. The fluffy, long-tailed jay is sooty-gray with a white collar and forehead. And it is bold!  It first hops around in a nearby tree, and then with soft, soundless flight, drops in to the middle of your camp.
The robber escapes with edible bits, which it stores by fastening in trees with its sticky saliva. The Gray Jay breeds across northern Canada and into Alaska, reclaiming its stored food in cold, snowy, seemingly foodless conditions.
As for the nickname Whiskey Jack? It comes from the Athabaskan Tlingit name for this species, wiss-ka-tjon. From this word, white settlers created “Whiskey John,” then shortened “John” to “Jack.” The bird became Whiskey Jack, nickname for the Gray Jay.
[More Gray Jay sounds]
You, too, can find some juicy tidbits when you visit us on the web at BirdNote.org. And unlike the Gray Jay, you’re always invited. I’m Michael Stein.
###
Call of the Gray Jay provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by C.A. Marantz.  Flies by G. F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org   July 2017   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#072905GRJAKPLU         GRAJ-01b-2009-07-31-MS-

 

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