Yesterday while hiking the Nelson Trail in Crane Lake I found a juvenile Gray Jay. I’ve been waiting to see one of those for a long time. The juvenile Gray Jay is totally dark gray with a beak that looks blue. The juvenile was in the company of a couple of adults. I only saw one juvenile, but I’m hoping there were more. The Gray Jay starts nesting when it is still winter in March and April. They use deer hair and feathers to insulate their nests as temperatures can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit during that time. I had several Gray Jays using my suet feeder this winter – it was a good year for Gray Jays this past winter – there were a lot in the area.
These birds were just a few hundred yards from the active Broad-wing Hawk nest that is located right on the trail. I flushed the Hawk off the nest as I walked by on the trail. She was frantically calling as I walked on – I hope I didn’t disturb her too much. I think I’ll not walk this trail until the babies have hatched. The incubation period is about 30 days and I first discovered the nest on May 23rd.
Other exciting birds that were in the area were several Cape May Warblers. They were hanging out in a grove of young conifers; spruce, jack pine, red pine. They build their nests at the very top of a spruce tree and are very hard to find.