Smaller than a crow but larger than a robin, the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is instantly recognised by birdwatchers young and old thanks to its near-exotic, blue-hued plumage. And given the jay’s loud cry, its scientific name—which means “crested, blue chattering bird”—seems particularly fitting! This intelligent bird is one of Canada’s most beloved songbirds, and its beauty is forever immortalised in this stunning coin.
The blue jay can be found happily nesting in both the wooded urban areas and mixed-wood forests of central Alberta to southern Ontario, and eastward through the Atlantic provinces. Its calls are part of the rich woodland sounds that further add to Canada’s natural beauty
• As a member of the crow family of birds, or Corvidae, the blue jay boasts an ancient lineage—corvids have been found in fossils that date back to 25 million years.
• The blue jay feasts upon acorns—so much so that it is thought to be responsible for the spread of oak trees after the last glacial period!
• You can tell the jay’s mood by the position of the crest atop its head: if it’s feeling excited, surprised or aggressive, the crest will rise prominently; if it is frightened, it will bristle out like a brush; and if feeding peacefully or tending to nestlings, the crest will lay flat on its head.
DESIGN: Designed by Derek C. Wicks, the coin features a side profile image of a blue jay, which allows for an optimal view of the bird’s contrasting feather patterns that make it so unique. The blue hue for which the jay is famous for is recreated with selective colour that enhances the coin’s detailed engraving, including the meticulously rendered pear tree blossoms that surround the colourful songbird.