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David Bird seeking your support to name Canada Jay as Canada's National Bird


Ellen Paul
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Whether you are Canadian, American or from somewhere else, you are receiving this email because I know you to be someone who cares 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, I will not bore you with 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!    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 will be mailed to federal politicians this coming March; Robert Bateman has written the Foreword.  We are also launching a web site to accompany the book’s release.  Most important, Senator Diane Griffin is going to put forth a ‘motion’ on this matter to the Senate after the book’s release and with much media attention.   The Society of Canadian Ornithologists has unanimously endorsed the Canada Jay and the Board of Directors of Birds Canada (I served on it for the last six years) also unofficially supports the bird. 

What can you do, at this moment in time, for the cause?    Well, something very simple…..just sign the petition at the following link: https://www.change.org/Repatriate_the_Canada_Jay (yes, I know that it is worded weirdly but it was originally used in a petition to get the old name back).    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 social media to your friends and colleagues…or both.  

Yes, I am aware that Canadians (and particularly our elected officials) have far more important things to do during this terrible pandemic and our collapsing 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, 2021, Canada’s next birthday.  Goodness knows that Canadians need some good news these days and certainly some lighter fare in our newspaper, radio and TVs.  

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