our species and plans (4)

The Jay Garrulus glandarius.

Status: secure.

Habitat: Generally a woodland bird but will also inhabit farmland, parks and large gardens. Seen in England, Wales and Southern Scotland but not in the northern parts.

Identification: Easy to identify, has a very visible blue panel on the wings, short thick dark bill, a pale pinkish grey body, black tail, white rump and a thick black moustache. Length 32cm – 35cm with a wingspan of between 50cm – 60cm. Weight between 5 – 7 oz this pretty woodland bird is seen all year round and generally has a lifespan up to 5 years.

The Jay

Behaviour: A restless bird that doesn’t stay still very long. They have a high degree of intelligence and the ability to talk if trained. Quite often seen feeding on the ground collecting acorns which it will then cache for a winter food supply. Will also come into gardens for peanuts where it will literally take quite a mouth full, fly off and cache like the acorns.

When on the ground the Jay has a very distinctive hopping action similar to that of a magpie. Although I have never witnessed it they are known to put ants on their feathers, the purpose of which remains unclear but many believe they do this to eradicate any parasites that they may have and this behaviour is known as anting.

Stunning colours of the Jay

The Jay has a diverse diet from nuts to caterpillars and insects to small rodents. The Jay is also responsible for stealing young chicks from other birds nests.

They have a large nest, quite often low down to the ground where there is a good amount of cover. Four or five eggs are laid in April to June with only one brood per year.

Competition for food

During the summer my trail cam caught this shot of two Jays fighting over the peanuts. You will often see two Jays foraging together.

Habitat plans: No plans required for this species.