Nesting gray jays near Caroline Internet stars

Ellis Bird Farm web cam possibly world’s first

Philip and Elizabeth Gray Jay — the nesting pair in a webcam shot.

In what might be a first in the world, a web camera is streaming live video of a couple of nesting gray jays near Caroline.

Already, since the camera was installed on March 18, 7,000 viewers have seen the birds finish off their intricate nest, and then the female lay a clutch of three eggs last weekend. Now she’s settled in for the hatch, expected to occur in about two weeks.

“We’ll have Easter bunnies and Easter jays hatching on Good Friday,” a delighted Myrna Pearman, biologist at the Ellis Bird Farm, said Friday.

Pearman said that a couple approached the bird farm’s booth during the recent Red Deer Sportsman Show to tell them they had some nest gray jays outside their home near Caroline. Normally gray jay nests are far off in the woods and well above ground.

Pearmen went out to have a look and found a perfect situation. The nest was close to the ground, and a power supply as well as an Internet source. With permission, an electronics specialist quickly installed the camera.

The boreal forest bird is known for having adapted to living in cold regions. It is found in every Canadian province and territory. The friendly, tough and clever bird was recently chosen by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society as the preferred candidate to become Canada’s national bird, and suggests Canada’s 150th birthday is a great opportunity to declare it such.

Pearman said the Caroline jays have been dubbed Elizabeth and Philip, after Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip.

Gray jays are very tame and have a great reputation for pilfering food at a campground or if you’re hiking, she said.

“The interest has been incredible. It’s somehow caught the imagination of people. It’s such a rarity to be able to see this,” Pearman said, adding that according to the geographic society, the gray jays web cam is likely a world first.

Gray jays typically nest probably 10 to 15 metres up in a tree. Theyusually way back in the bush. “Everything just aligned,” Pearman said.

Red Deer is just outside the normal range of the gray jay. They are further west and north, so Caroline is prime habitat.

Pearman noted that the photos on the Ellis Bird Farm website are only screenshots from the web camera. They are not going back and disturbing the nest to get new photos, she said.


A webccam shot of the female gray jay (Elizabeth) on the nest .

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month