Why Study Canada Jays?
- Unlike many birds that migrate to warmer locations during the winter, Canada jays (formerly gray jay; Perisoreus canadensis) are year-round residents of the boreal forest.
- Canada jays are among the first birds in Alaska to begin nesting. Canada jays begin laying eggs in March, when there is still snow on the ground and temperatures may plunge to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Canada jays survive Alaskan winters by storing, or caching, food items throughout the fall. Canada jays store perishable food that may spoil in warm temperatures.
- Growing evidence suggests that the warming climate may be decreasing food available to Canada jays in the winter. This limits their ability to raise young.
Research in the Park
Park biologists are working with partners at the University of Guelph and University of Washington to collect data on changes in the Canada jay population. Their research provides new knowledge about Canada jays' year-round requirements and examines how a warming climate may impact the future of Canada jays in Alaska’s boreal forests.