2020—What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? When it comes to the Canada Jay, quite a lot, actually. The Canada Jay only recently reclaimed that name after losing it in 1957 when the American Ornithologists’ Union changed its common name to Gray Jay. And despite the fact that most of these birds live in every Canadian province, and only a few live in some of the United States, this organization bestowed the American spelling of “gray” instead of the Canadian spelling of “grey.” In 2018, the same organization, now called the American Ornithological Society restored the name to Canada Jay. There is an ongoing campaign in Canada now to designate the Canada Jay as Canada’s Official bird.

Despite its eponymous name, I photographed this Canada Jay in Minnesota at the Sax-Zim Bog. I have always loved jays and this jay is every bit as charming and gregarious as the Scrub Jays that I love and it is actually much more adorable.

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