Last week, Cheryl Cronnie photographed this jay (Garrulus glandarius) foraging in the long grass for the acorns it buried there before the winter arrived.

In the autumn, a jay will store thousands of acorns, carrying each one away from where it fell and pushing it into the ground with its beak. The RSPB reports that jays seem to remember where they cached most of their acorns, a feat that shows just how intelligent these noisy and colourful corvids are.

The acorns that are forgotten serve the oak trees from which they came. The jays have, in effect, planted them carefully in soft and moist soil some distance from the competition of the parent trees: perfect for germination and new growth, but not necessarily perfectly placed.

If you walk across Sleepers next month, between the Sheep Field copse and the goat willows where the public footpath leaves the reserve, you will see seedling oaks among the grass. This is the result of a jay diligently caching acorns from the oak trees on the edge of the copse and then forgetting to retrieve them – but they will all succumb to the mower at haymaking time.

3 thoughts on “Jay

  1. I regularly see blue Jays, when I’m walking around the country park. The seem to like the really big tree that’s fenced off in the big open field and the surrounding hedgerows (sorry I don’t know the name of the different fields

    1. The big tree is called the Lone Oak and it’s in Cornfield. DKG loved to photograph the Lone Oak, so perhaps we should find one of its seedlings to plant somewhere in his memory.

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