As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 15 June 2018

Name change to Canada Jay part of bid to become Canada's national bird

Updated: May 29, 2018

Birders and ornithologists across Canada are hoping that a name change will help revive a campaign to make the cheeky songbird the country’s national bird.

What was once known as the Gray Jay is now the Canada Jay. Earlier this month the change was announced by the American Ornithological Association (AOA), the U.S.-based group dedicated to the scientific study and conservation of birds.

In fact, the decision corrects what many consider a historical mistake. Canada Jay is a restoration of the English name the bird held from 1831-1957.

The new name for the songbird is exactly what David Bird, a retired McGill University wildlife professor, thinks will help convince the federal government to officially adopt the Canada Jay as the country’s national bird.

Bird speaks on behalf of Team Canada Jay, a loose group of about 50 birders, ornithologists and supporters. One of its prominent members is artist Robert Bateman.

Last year, the drive to single out the Gray Jay ran out of steam when the federal government said it wasn’t interested. The campaign had been started by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society which ran a National Bird Project and an online contest. Finishing first and second in voting were the common loon and snowy owl. But the society choose the third-place Gray Jay for a very good reason, Bird said. The loon is already Ontario’s provincial bird and the snowy owl, Quebec’s.

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