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
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
“I grew up hearing all about the Sydney steel mill, the tar ponds and the controversy over the cleanup. The more I read and learned, the more my curiosity was piqued. It seemed a natural area for me to take my studies.”
— Hannah MacDonald,
Mount Allison University