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Birds are Amazing! Scrub Jay Behavior

Jim Chiropolos
 

I was watching our backyard birds today and I watched a scrub jay land next to some shelled sunflower seeds on the ground. The jay proceeded to pick up and hold (without eating) 6 sunflower seeds before it flew away to presumably cache the sunflower seeds somewhere (I don't think young would be fed sunflower seeds - young need insects - and its likely too early for fledglings). How does a bill and tongue have the dexterity to pick up hold seven small 1/8-inch seeds at once!?!

With one hand I do not think I would the dexterity to pick up from the ground and hold multiple sun flower seeds at once -and I have fingers! Lots of interesting stuff going on the garden!

Jim Chiropolos, Orinda

Melani King
 

Corvid behavior! Just this morning I observed one of the American Crows that visits my yard dropping a very large white stone into the bird bath. It must have thought it was an egg. It rolled it around and picked it up into its bill and took it out. Then repeated the same thing a couple more times. It finally gave up! For me, observations like this make birding so much fun and interesting.

Melani King
Pt. Richmond

Mike Shannon
 

The Scrub Jays in my yard do this and they hide the seeds across the street. I see other Scrub Jays rooting around in that area and I think there is thievery going on.

Mike Shannon
Palomares Hills

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jim Chiropolos
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2020 1:32 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Birds are Amazing! Scrub Jay Behavior

I was watching our backyard birds today and I watched a scrub jay land next to some shelled sunflower seeds on the ground. The jay proceeded to pick up and hold (without eating) 6 sunflower seeds before it flew away to presumably cache the sunflower seeds somewhere (I don't think young would be fed sunflower seeds - young need insects - and its likely too early for fledglings). How does a bill and tongue have the dexterity to pick up hold seven small 1/8-inch seeds at once!?!

With one hand I do not think I would the dexterity to pick up from the ground and hold multiple sun flower seeds at once -and I have fingers! Lots of interesting stuff going on the garden!

Jim Chiropolos, Orinda

David Yeamans
 

Scrub Jays are renowned for raiding caches of other scrub jays. Often they will relocate chaches of their own and other birds. If they are like Clark's nutcrackers, they can remember up to 15,000 cache locations. It is an important secondary way that seeds are distributed for later sprouting.

--
Dave

If you see bad, do good.

Bev
 

Scrub Jays can be incredibly protective of the humans they love too. My best friend was sleeping in the back of her house with the door open to her yard when the jay started her alarm call. My friend was used to going to help the jay if she was being stalked by a cat, but this time the jay carefully got her to follow her to show that around the side of the house a man was sneaking towards the back yard. Could have been to burglar or worse, so the jay might have saved her life. Scrub jays have also come inside for food and sang their sweet soft "whisper song" after laying eggs in our yard.  They are about the only birds here who have survived the cats we can't keep away.

Bev


-----Original Message-----
From: David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...>
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: Fri, Apr 3, 2020 9:31 am
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Birds are Amazing! Scrub Jay Behavior

Scrub Jays are renowned for raiding caches of other scrub jays. Often they will relocate chaches of their own and other birds. If they are like Clark's nutcrackers, they can remember up to 15,000 cache locations. It is an important secondary way that seeds are distributed for later sprouting.

--
Dave

If you see bad, do good.

David Yeamans
 

I once had a (Woodhouse's) scrub jay check inside my ear canals for insects.

--
Dave

If you see bad, do good.

Bev
 

That's wonderful!

Bev


-----Original Message-----
From: David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...>
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Apr 4, 2020 10:05 am
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Birds are Amazing! Scrub Jay Behavior

I once had a (Woodhouse's) scrub jay check inside my ear canals for insects.

--
Dave

If you see bad, do good.

Carla
 

Thank you for sharing these marvelous accounts of Scrub behavior!

Coincidentally just yesterday my neighbor, a birder, gave me a copy of the book, The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman. 
The Scrub is illustrated on the cover and there are a number of examples inside of how intelligent this species is.
For example, not only do Scrubs remember where they stashed their caches but also what and when! This is important because in addition to seeds and nuts, they eat and store food that can perish at different rates, such as insects, worms and fruit. The genius of this is that the Scrubs recover their caches based on how quickly food degrades! Incredible!

This ability to recall the "what, where and when" of specific past events is thought to be akin to human episodic memory.

Looking forward to more reports!
Carla Din