The Gray Jay is Now Canada's National Bird
A two-year-long, Canada-wide search has resulted in the gray jay — also known as the whiskey jack — being chosen as Canada’s national bird by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
The robin-sized gray jay, which is found in every province and territory but only in Canada, is being lauded by the society as a reflection of Canadians’ best qualities — smart, tough and friendly.
The whiskey jack’s common name doesn’t come from booze, but from the original Cree and Algonquin languages in which it was celebrated as a friendly and clever herald of good fortune.
The gray jay beat out higher profile contenders including the common loon, snowy owl and black-capped chickadee in a contest that garnered national attention and attracted almost 50,000 online voters.
The gray jay actually came third in voting behind the loon and the snowy owl, but was chosen following a public debate and deliberations by a panel of experts.