Wednesday 18 December 2019

Garden Jays

Occasionally we have a mini irruption of Jays, birds that are probably forced south by a dearth of acorns in their normal environment. Luckily we live not a stones throw from a large avenue of Holly or Holm Oaks, Quercus ilex and these produce a veritable cornucopia of small acorns that are irresistible to Jays. I guess that not only Jays but Squirrels and Magpies are happy to devour them too. Trouble is that they don't eat them all and there are always mini oak trees sprouting like weeds in the garden, from acorns cached for harder times but obviously forgotten.

However, I digress. Our colourful guests are attracted by our collection of feeders and as the number of acorns available diminishes they are searching for new food sources. The first visits are very tentative as they are naturally shy birds and have, in the past, suffered persecution at the hands of gamekeepers.  When offered peanuts they become much more confident and given time they can be approachable.  I place small caches of nuts in strategic places in the garden and set watch by the patio windows, they obviously know that you are behind glass and often venture to within a few feet. Sitting out in the garden is a totally different matter, but in the end I have had them to within 10 feet. They land on the nuts and devour as many as possible before flying off to cache them.

Just to show that nothing is new in birding - almost the same happened in 2012 but slightly earlier in the year - look here