Gray Jay - Perisoreus canadensis

Gray Jay - Perisoreus canadensis
New Hampshire Public Television
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The gray jay is about ten inches in length. It is gray on top and grayish-white on its undersides. It has a white forehead and throat. It has a darker gray cap and nape and a short, dark bill.

The gray jay can be found from Alaska east to Labrador, and south to northern California, New Mexico, northern New York and northern New England.


The gray jay can be found in coniferous and coniferous-deciduous forests. It is most frequently found in spruce and fir forests. It is very rarely seen outside of its forest environment.

The gray jay eats fruits, seeds and insects. In winter, a large part of its diet is made up of conifer seeds. It uses its saliva to roll seeds together and then stores the seed balls to eat later!

Life Cycle
The gray jay mates in the spring. The male chooses a nest site, usually in a conifer tree like the spruce or fir and then he begins building the nest. The bowl-shaped nest is made of twigs, grass, lichen, moss and bark fastened together with spider webs and insect cocoons. The nest is lined with grass, moss, fur and feathers. The female will help build the nest. It can take up to three weeks for the pair to complete the nest.

The female gray jay lays two to five pale green to gray-green speckled eggs and incubates them for 16-18 days. Both parents care for the chicks, which fledge when they are about 15 days old.

The gray jay is also known as the "camp robber." It is very tame and it often enters camps to take food.

The gray jay makes a series of whistling sounds of "wheeoo" or "wheee-ah." It also has a harsher alarm call of "kren kren kren." Its alarm call is a screeching "jaaayy."

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