Characteristics of gray jay (perisoreus canadensis) vocalizations in Vermont

Semprebon, Jean M.
Jon Atwood, PhD
Department of Environmental Studies
Gray Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) produce many complex calls that have not been previously described in detail. I analyzed vocalizations given by 25 hand-held Gray Jays captured in northern Vermont from 1994-2000. Approximately 12 distinct vocalization types were recorded, of which four (woot, rah-scream, chatter and rah-ta-ta) were given much more frequency that all others. Most calls appeared to be given in contexts of social alarm or distress, miscellaneous calls and instances of apparent mimicry of Broad-winged Hawk vocalizations are also described. Structural characteristics of most calls are described in detail. Pronounced daily variation in calls given by particular individuals prevented analysis of possible sexual or among-individual differences in vocal characteristics.

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