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The grey jay was chosen as the top nominee for Canada’s national bird because it can be found across the entire country and embodies the Canadian spirit, the Canadian Geographical Society says. (Steve Phillips) After ruffling a few feathers, the grey jay will not be crowned Canada’s national bird after all.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society had hatched a plan to have a national bird declared by the federal government in time for Canada 150 celebrations. But it’s not to be.

For 18 months, the society ran its National Bird Project , which included an online contest, as well public debates and consultations with ornithologists and other experts.

Nearly 50,000 Canadians responded and in mid-November, the society announced the grey jay or whisky jack as the winner. It beat out the common loon, the snowy owl and the black-capped chickadee. ‘Not actively considering proposals’

At no point did the federal government sanction the project.

Instead, organizers had simply hoped the work they put into choosing the bird and the following publicity would be enough to convince Ottawa to follow through. Canadian Geographic chose the grey jay as Canada’s bird. But project was never sanctioned by the federal government. (Canadian Geographic) Aaron Kylie, editor-in- of Canadian Geographic, which is published by the society, said he and his staff never officially lobbied the government to name a national bird.

"We published a magazine article and I don’t even know if the heritage minister read it … I don’t know if the prime minister read it, I have no idea," he said.

He said the geographic society never pressed the government directly because it’s a not-for-profit organization and lobbying Ottawa could jeopardize its status. Thanks! May be time to bring the Great Canadian National Bird Debate to the House of Commons! No fowl play ???? — @cathmckenna […]

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