Although it is a member of the same family, the Gray Jay is nowhere near as raucous as the Blue Jay or Crow. They tend to be very friendly and tame, and will sit, with feathers all puffed up quietly in nearby trees soaking in the warmth of the winter afternoon sun, affording one some wonderful photographic opportunities. They will readily accept peanuts and other seeds from an open hand. Algonquin Park campers know this bird as a camp robber, snatching food off a table or even from a pot on an outdoor stove.
Although the occasional Red-breasted is identified during our local Christmas Bird count, we seldom see them in our vicinity as their preferred habitat is a coniferous forest and we live in an area forested with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. Most of my encounters and all my photographs of these diminutive little hustlers have been taken in Algonquin Park, where they abound in the conifers and the abundant food supply they offer.
Smaller than the common white- breasted nuthatch, and bearing a rufous coloured breast and a black stripe along the eye line, they along with black- capped chickadees and gray jays, are very much candidates for those much sought after photographic images of birds feeding out of an open hand, filled with various seeds.
There are only a handful of birds that captivate us to such an extent that we wear clothing, drink from china cups, wear jewelry and purchase paintings and other items adorned with its image.
Hummingbirds have to be positioned near the top of that list!
Weighing in at between .1-.3 ounces (2.5-8gms), the Ruby throated hummingbird is one of the world’s smallest birds.
The Hummingbird family comprises 320 species in the Americas, but only the Ruby-throated nest in Ontario In some of the southern states as many as 125 species have been recorded. The greatest concentration of hummingbirds is, as expected, in tropical countries.