We interrupt this broadcast for Breaking News from Canada


The Gray Jay? Say What?

After a process lasting nearly two years…Canadian Geographic hopes the government will adopt its recommendation in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. It says the choice between the country’s 450 species of birds “was made neither lightly nor quickly.”

Part of the controversy is about the selection process — the gray jay came in third in the online poll, behind the common loon and the snowy owl…

But the pick is controversial, prompting headlines such as this one in The Toronto Star: ” ‘The gray what?’ Outcry as gray jay named Canada’s national bird.” Hashtags such as #teamloon are full of outrage and sadness. “Unlike Canada … the gray jay is drab and not terribly photogenic,” wrote the Ottawa Citizen in an unflattering article titled, “7 embarrassing photos that gray jays don’t want you to see.”…

It was a long, heated selection process. Backers for the different birds duked it out in a “battle royal” debate, streamed live, where they mulled questions such as “Is the cry of the loon a hauntingly beautiful lament or the stuff of children’s nightmares?” and “Is the Canada goose a messy, ill-tempered brute or a unifying symbol that is also surprisingly delicious?”…

But Aaron Kylie, an editor for Canadian Geographic said: “We didn’t just follow the popular vote, because also, to be frank, I don’t think that we should decide a national symbol based on a popularity contest,” Kylie told the newspaper. He pointed to what some see as a cautionary tale, from the U.K.: “If we did those kind of things, that’s how you end up with Boaty McBoatface. It’s not really the right way to go about something that’s so serious.”

Read on – Merrit Kennedy, Canada Is Agonizing About Choosing A National Bird:


  1. Good luck! If Benjamin Franklin had his way, the USA would have had a wild turkey as its national anthem because the bald eagle is a scavenger and less noble (in this mind) than the cagey (and delicious!) turkey.

    Whatever Canada ends up with, something more showy than the grey jay probably would satisfy more people. I agree the Canada goose, while dramatic and beautiful to see, is a nuisance bird when given the opportunity; the snowy owl is dramatic and beautiful but perhaps less universally seen in the country; and the loon already adorns coins. All but the snowy owl are kind of like the RC Mounties in traditional uniform, instantly recognizable but stereotypically Canadian.(I don’t live there, so I won’t say which bird I’d choose.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. his mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Big decisions Canada!! I think the gray jay is very cute 🇨🇦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wow – this is big!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ” If we did those kind of things, that’s how you end up with Boaty McBoatface.It’s not really the right way to go about something so serious. ”

    For some reason, this quote feels so painfully familiar. ( I’m from the US )

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Tracey Carnahan says:

    If only the U.S. took choosing their President as seriously….

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Sort of like the Trump-Clinton thing that went on here. Good luck with the voting Canada. I personally like the Snowy Owl but my vote doesn’t count. Something else we have in common. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Seriously? I thought Boaty McBoatface was serious, and loved Boaty for the serious intent of…of what? Serious intentful-ness? Yes, and that would make the entire intent seriously serious. Brilliant!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Cute little bird, quiet, not very glamour, unlike our Prime Minister, so he’s very Canadian…:) and also the Snowy Owl (Harfang des neiges) is the emblematic bird of Quebec, the Loon, if not mistaken is identified to Ontario, so I guess they want a bird not related to these provinces and besides this grey Jay is seen all across the country, I am not a bird specialist, just heard that on Radio-Canada last Sunday…:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • What terrific background. Didn’t know that. I’m sure the West would squeal if Canada picked the Quebec or Ontario Provincial birds!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wasn’t sure about Ontario, did check, it is. Yes the other provinces would get upset, almost as BC with the announcement yesterday about the oil sand pipeline project that would go from Edmonton to Burnaby, near Vancouver; though week for PM Trudeau, his thoughts on Castro, the cabinet approval for this project…lot of flak from the opposition…he probably wish for the quietness of our national bird…:)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think its a handsome little bird.
    And they did name the ROV for the ship Boaty Mcboatface.
    That’s more than Hillary gets.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. To me, that grey jay looks rather pretty. The robin was voted our National Bird in the UK. They’re quite territorial birds (quite symbolic of Brexit, I’d say!). Yes, I’m guessing that with such a good-looking Prime Minister, the Canadians need a plain National bird to keep things in balance.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Aaron Kylie is a seriously canny man!
    Hanging out on skis is pretty cool too 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m as Canadian as Pita Bread!
    What do I know? Laughing…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think the gray jay is a good choice (btw, there’s a move now to change the spelling from “gray” to “grey” because gray is American). The friendly little whiskey jacks are amazing – no migration for them! 🙂 They store food for the winter and remember where they’ve put it (which is more than I can say for a lot of our politicians). 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. They should have selected the Osprey and nobody would have complained 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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