A bird synonymous with high elevations (except the Sierras of California) or high latittudes (Canadian coniferous forest) — Gray Jays. These diminutive cousins of our familiar Blue Jay can be found in spruce forests, or where jack or lodgepole pine are present. We found them at the southern limit of their range at Sax-Zim bog in north-central Minnesota, but they can also be found in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and parts of New England states in the U.S.
Gray Jays are food hoarders. They stash excess food during the summer and fall into nooks and crevices of particular tree species, first lubricating it well with saliva and forming it into a ball and then stuffing it into place with their bill. Either the saliva or substances in the tree bark must have anti-bacterial properties because these food caches do not deteriorate over time. That and the deep freeze of their winter habitat ensure that there is always food available all year, and especially during the winter when the usual nuts, berries, and other animal prey have disappeared.
The birds here are probably happy to stock up on fat and protein, as they will start their breeding season in a month or two, well before winter temperatures and precipitation have moderated. Gray Jays have been seen feeding their chicks at -20F! That’a a tough bird — well-adapted anyway.