January 10, 2020
| Canada Jay by Jaculin Bowman|
Our fourth BirdSpotter category celebrated birds sporting wintery blue or gray plumage. Congratulations to our BirdSpotter People’s Choice winner for Category 4, Jaculin Bowman of Geneva, Illinois! Jaculin received the most votes for her photo of a Canada Jay (above) taken while visiting Sax-Zim Bog, a popular birding spot in northern Minnesota. She described her chilly trip up north below:
We had planned a trip to Sax-Zim Bog, Meadowlands, MN for February 2019 and had all our reservations in place. Two days before our departure, the Polar Vortex hit the mid-west and temperatures in Geneva, IL, where we live, were -40° and in Sax-Zim Bog -56°. The morning of our arrival, Feb 2, it was a tad bit warmer at -10°, but the sun was shining and the birds were active. While our main target was the see the Pine Marten that was reported to be visiting the feeders, and an opportunity to photograph the birds of Sax-Zim Bog in the sunshine was a bonus treat. Our previous trips up had mostly cloudy days, so this was a great chance to get some sun-lit pics.
The Admiral Road feeding station is always a popular place to visit, with several feeding stations of suet and peanut butter, the birds are busy taking turns at enjoying the buffet and/or waiting for their turn while perching on the nearby branches. We spent about an hour there just taking it all in, and this jay was one of the benefits of dressing in layers and not letting the cold keep us from enjoying all that the bog has to offer!
In 2018, the American Ornithological Society voted to change the name of the Gray Jay to Canada Jay. They also go by the colloquial names ‘whiskeyjack’ and ‘camp robber’. Canada Jays are no stranger to cold – they nest during late winter and incubate its eggs in temperatures as low as minus 20°F! If you live in the northern latitudes, you can attract these birds to your feeders with peanuts, suet, sunflower seeds, mealworms, and even fruit.
Submissions are open now for the fifth BirdSpotter category Birds in Flight! Submit your photo of a bird on the wing by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, January 16, 2020 for a chance to win. These winners will be announced on Friday, January 24, and will be entered into the Grand Prize contest along with other weekly winners. Biweekly People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice winners receive prizes from the Cornell Lab and our sponsor, Wild Birds Unlimited. Anyone can participate by entering a photo and voting for their favorites! Find out more about the BirdSpotter contest.