Please Help Us to Make the Canada Jay Canada’s National Bird!
If you are reading this, whether you are Canadian, American or from somewhere else, you obviously care about wildlife! For the last five years, I have been heading a national team of folks who wish to see the Canada Jay anointed officially by our federal government as our country’s national bird. While the bird was proclaimed the winner of the ‘contest’ run by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society four years ago and despite the fact that many Canadians now consider it to be our national bird, we have thus far not been able to convince the federal government to take that final step and ratify it in parliament.
Why do we need a national bird? Well, click on WHY A NATIONAL BIRD to read a list of all the good things that birds do for humans, but allow me to say this. According to Wikipedia, 106 of the world’s 195 countries have official birds. The Americans treasure their national bird – the Bald Eagle! But Canada is not listed -- we do not have one! Yet our country does have national symbols – the beaver, the maple tree, and two sports. We’ve even got a national horse! But alas --- no official bird.
It is the Team’s firm belief that one could not find a more Canadian bird than the aptly named Canada Jay! Click on 17 REASONS to read a list of seventeen reasons why it is a good choice. In summary though, this smart corvid breeds in every province and territory and its range almost mirrors our country’s borders. It is extremely friendly, often landing on an outstretched palm even without food, and is among the hardiest of all of our birds, staying year-round in our country and sometimes incubating eggs at -30 degrees C! It is not hunted or killed for any reason and its popular name, whiskyjack, originates from our First Nations people. Best of all, it has not yet been chosen to represent any geographical entity, unlike the common loon (Ontario) and the snowy owl (Quebec)! As for wildlife conservation, the Canada Jay presents itself as an excellent ‘poster child’ for our boreal forests, for our national and provincial parks, and for climate change. It not only depends on our boreal forests but also on our cold winters to keep its stored food from rotting.
A small promotional book entitled “The Canada Jay as Canada’s National Bird?” authored by eight of us is being mailed to federal politicians this coming spring; Robert Bateman has written the Foreword. We also launched this web site to help promote the book’s release and to enlist folks to support our cause. Most important, Senator Diane Griffin is putting forth a ‘motion’ on this matter to the Senate after the book’s release and with much media attention.
What can you do, at this moment in time, for the cause? Well, something very simple...regardless of your country of origin, just click on SIGN THE PETITION and follow through. If you want to do more than that, you can donate anywhere from $2 to $50 to Change.org to broadcast the petition to even more Canadians or…..you can forward this message via your favourite social media to your friends and colleagues…or both. Click on THINGS CANADIANS CAN DO to learn about more ways you can help!
Yes, we are aware that Canadians (and particularly our elected officials) have far more important things to do during this terrible pandemic and our collapsed economy. We are not looking for them to do something right now, but we are merely asking them to give some strong consideration to making an announcement of intent to make the Canada Jay our national bird by July 1, 2022.
Keep in mind that this web site is a work in progress and that we will be adding more and more interesting materials, e.g. articles, photos, cultural items like songs and poetry, featuring the Canada Jay in the months to come!
--- David M. Bird, Leader, Team Canada Jay