Saturday, January 9, 2021

Canada Jay

On 8 January 2021, after an almost two-year search, Erika and I finally found a Canada Jay in Thurston County.  Our search was hindered by the popularity of the McLane Lake Nature Trail. Often this year we have turned around upon finding a full parking lot—the trail is heavily used by Olympia dog-walkers. Over these two years, Canada Jays were occasionally reported along the trail. This day, four flew high in the trees near a nearby lake.

Nine subspecies of Canada Jay are described. The expected race in Olympia is the Oregon Jay. Note this bird's white the underparts and relatively dark head (most races have mostly gray underparts). Prior to 1944, Oregon Jays were considered to be a distinct species, and today some ornithologists argue that full species status should be reapplied to this population.

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