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 Gray Jay
February 15, 1968

Gray Jay

A commemorative postage stamp on the Wildlife Series : Canada jaya passerine bird associated with mythological figures of several First Nations cultures in Canada :

Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) : An Artwork of Glen LoatesIssued by Canada

Issued on Feb 15, 1968

Issued for : Thursday, February 15, 1968 will be the first day of issue for this stamp honoring the wildlife of North America.

Design : A pair of Gray Jays perched on boughs of a White Spruce have been chosen by the Canada Post Office as subjects for a stamp to continue a Wildlife Series of postal issues.

Type : Stamp, Postal Used

Colour : Multi Colour

Denomination : 5 cent

About : 

  • The Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) is a bird of the coniferous forests of North America whose breeding grounds extend from British Columbia and the Yukon to Newfoundland. The adult bird usually attains an overall length of 11″ to 13″, larger than a robin and reminiscent of an overgrown chickadee.
  • Gray Jays nest very early, often while the ground is still covered with snow. The juveniles have smokey black plumage as if they have been rolled in soot, but by their first autumn, resemble their parents.
  • Gray Jay, Canada Jay, Whiskey Jay, Camp Robber or Moose Bird, no matter what name you call him, all travellers in the northern forests are familiar with this friendly rogue. This bird is extremely tame, bold and very curious. It will usually appear when a fire is built, or food is being prepared or eaten. Gray Jays will eat almost anything. Their diet includes insects, wild berries, small snakes, any kind of meat or fish, and any food left unprotected around camp. They will steal bacon from a frying pan and will enter a tent or cabin in search of food.
  • Many folk tales have grown up around this bird which depict it as a sly robber and a trickster able to transform himself into a shape most appropriate to suit the occasion. Haunting lumber camps, and trappers’ cabins, it was said to be the spirit of departed woodsmen. In the northern forests the Indians were so superstitious about it that they were afraid to look at the nest and never molested it.
  • The Gray Jay issue brings to Canadian stamps the talents of a widely acclaimed Toronto-born young naturalist and artist, Martin Glen Loates. This is the first occasion on which a design of Mr. Loates has been used on a Canadian stamp. In size the stamp conforms to a new metric scale of dimensions adopted by the Canada Post Office for future issues. Four colors, green, rose, brown and black were employed in the production of this stamp by the lithographic printing process on coated stock. Because of the manufacturing technique, marginal inscriptions will appear on the four corners of each pane of 50 stamps.
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