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Gray Jay

While a friend and I were canoe-camping in Algonquin Park in mid-October of 2006, one of our campsites was visited by a couple of large-ish gray and white birds. They seemed very friendly and would perch nearby on the logs by the campfire while we prepared breakfast. We had just finished frying up some sausage and had put the pan aside when one of the birds took off, dove past the frying pan, and flew off with a slice of sausage from the still-hot pan! I had not seen such bold thievery since fending off west-coast crows in the Broken Group Islands last summer. I happened to be composing a photo of the bird perched by the fire at the moment he decided to make a go of it, and managed to snap the following shot, which pretty much catches the culprit red-handed (or maybe red-beaked):

Anyway, when we got back we discovered the bird is a Gray Jay (AKA Canada Jay) and is apparently well-known for it's pilfering ways. The HWW description of this bird contains the statement "These practices have earned the jay a name for petty thievery". How true!

Ottawa, Ontario