Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Nature Birds

The Canada Jay

The National Bird of Canada?

by (author) David Bird, Dan Strickland & Ryan Norris

Hancock House
Initial publish date
Jul 2022
Birds, Essays, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


The Canada Jay as Canada’s National Bird? presents a convincing argument for the official recognition of the Canada Jay as our national bird by the federal government. With chapters written by several authors, including experts on the species, whimsical poetry, perspectives from all three founding peoples of Canada, many excellent colourful photos and paintings by talented photographers and artists, and a Foreword by none other than Robert Bateman, the book promotes the idea that Canada needs a National Bird and that the Canada Jay best fits the bill. While the bird was proclaimed the winner of the ‘contest’ run by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society several years ago and despite the fact that many Canadians now consider it to be our national bird, our federal government has yet to recognize it officially. One could not find a more Canadian bird than the aptly named Canada Jay! This clever 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 it is among the hardiest of all of our Canadian birds, staying north of the 49th parallel during winter and sometimes incubating eggs at -30 degrees C! It is not hunted or killed for any reason and its popular name, whisky jack, originates from our Indigenous peoples. Best of all, it has not yet been chosen to represent any provinces or territories. Finally, the Canada Jay presents itself as an excellent ‘poster child’ for our boreal forests, for our national and provincial parks, and for climate change.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

David M. Bird is an Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and now living on Vancouver Island, David has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers, supervised 50 graduate students, mostly on birds of prey, and has written and/or edited more than a dozen nature books. Dan Strickland was the Chief Park Naturalist of Ontario’s famous Algonquin Park for 30 years, Dan played a leading role in creating the Park’s outstanding program to interpret its natural and human history to thousands of visitors. Ryan Norris is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. Alain Goulet has had a passion for birds since a young age and this flourished throughout his studies which eventually saw him complete his B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology at the University of Guelph. Aaron Kylie is an experienced communications executive and journalist, focused on collaborating with individuals and groups to create inspiring multimedia content that shares purposeful stories — by showing, not telling. Indigenous visual artist, Mark Nadjiwan, is a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. He resides on their traditional territory on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula in Ontario. Mark is a self-taught artist. Michel Gosselin was Bird Collection Manager at the Canadian Museum of Nature (1978-2016), author or co-author of over 400 publications (popular, refereed, reports, books, etc.) on birds. Colleen Rutherford Archer is the author of over 2000 articles and short stories, seven young adult novels, and numerous poems in various magazines and anthologies.

Editorial Reviews

“It’s the perfect time for Canada to have a national bird, and I’m confident that the Canada Jay is the ideal bird to represent Canada.”

-- Rick Hansen, Founder, Rick Hansen Foundation