Gray Jays are year-round residents of the boreal forest that rely on cached food for survival during the winter. Amazingly, Gray Jays also begin breeding in late winter when little fresh food is available so adults also rely almost exclusively on cached food for reproduction. Since 2009, Ryan Norris and his graduate students have been collaborating with Dan Strickland, former Chief Park Naturalist for Algonquin Park, on Gray Jay research. Dan began marking Gray Jays in Algonquin Park and tracking their reproductive success in the mid 1970’s. For the past two decades, the Algonquin population of Gray Jays has declined by over 50% and we are currently examining hypotheses for the causes of this decline, including how long-term changes in climate may be influencing the quality and quantity of cached food.
Whelan, S, Strickland, D, Morand-Ferron, J & Norris, DR. 2017. Reduced reproductive performance associated with warmer ambient temperatures during incubation in a winter-breeding, food-storing passerine. Ecology & Evolution 00:1-8.
Sutton, AO, Strickland, D & Norris, DR. 2016. Food storage in a changing world: implications of climate change for food-caching species. Climate Change Responses 3:12
Whelan, S, Strickland, D, Morand-Ferron, J & Norris, DR. 2016. Male experience buffers female laying date plasticity in a winter-breeding, food-storing passerine. Animal Behaviour 121: 61-70.
Derbyshire, R, Strickland, D & Norris, DR. 2015. Experimental evidence and 43 years of monitoring data support the food limitation hypothesis in a boreal food-caching songbird. Ecology 96: 3005-3015.
Strickland, D & Norris, DR. 2015. An example of phenotypic adherence to the island rule? – Anticosti gray jays are heavier but not structurally larger than mainland conspecifics. Ecology & Evolution 5:3687-3694.
Sechley, TH, Strickland, D & Norris, DR. 2015. Linking the availability of cached food to climate change: an experimental test of the hoard-rot hypothesis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 93: 411-419.
Sechley, TH, Strickland, D, Norris, DR. 2014. Causes and consequences of pre-laying weight gain in a food-caching bird that breeds in the late winter. Journal of Avian Biology 45: 85-93.
Norris, DR, Flockhart, DTT & Strickland, D. 2013. Contrasting patterns of survival and dispersal in multiple habitats reveals an ecological trap in a food-caching bird. Oecologia 173: 827-835.
Strickland, D, Kielstra, B & Norris, DR. 2011. Experimental evidence for a novel mechanism driving variation in habitat quality in a food-caching bird. Oecologia 167: 943-950.