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2001 Research Grant Recipient - Dan Strickland

Hatching a Hypothesis
The nesting habits of gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis) are as shady as their plumage. But Dan Strickland, a retired naturalist who’s spent some 30 years observing the birds, hopes to uncover their mysterious ways by studying them on Quebec’s Anticosti Island.

Although a juvenile often remains with its parents after the nesting season, it will be chased away by those same parents at the start of the following year’s breeding season, effectively preventing the juvenile from helping to feed the new nestlings.

Strickland believes an extra bird increases the risk of revealing the nest location to predators such as red squirrels. Since Anticosti Island has a large population of gray jays and no red squirrels, Strickland can test his theory by seeing whether the juveniles stay to provision new chicks.

With the aid of a Society grant, he plans to visit the island this fall to colour-band birds before starting observations next March.

— Stefan Norman

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