Getting from J to B

Jay, image by Steve Round, courtesy RSPB

Jay, image by Steve Round, courtesy RSPB

According to the RSPB, jays appear to be on the move this week. The most colourful members of the crow family have been more visible around the UK and jays could even be arriving into the country from other parts of Europe.

Jays are often difficult so see, as they are a shy woodland bird. However, the RSPB thinks a poor acorn crop this year may mean they are more visible than usual as they widen their search for food, even visiting people’s gardens to feed.

The resident UK population could also have been joined by jays from Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, indicating that natural food sources in those places could be scarce this season too.

Ben Andrew, RSPB Wildlife Advisor, said; ‘With a blush pink body and flash of blue on the wings, jays are really attractive birds and it’s hard to believe they are close relatives of crows, ravens, rooks and jackdaws, which are all black.

‘Jays eat acorns, nuts and seeds at this time of year, and will create a little larder to see them through the winter by burying beech nuts, hazelnuts and acorns. But, we have had reports from parts of the country of a poor acorn crop, which could be bringing these birds out into view as they make a more thorough search for food.’

The RSPB is advising not to trim back berry, fruit and nut-bearing bushes and trees so that birds and other wildlife can access the food, and can shelter among the leaves and branches as the weather turns colder.

Ben continues; ‘Autumn can be a blustery messy time in gardens, with fallen leaves, branches and fruits on the ground. It’s very tempting to get outside with the rake and have a good tidy up. All of this is great food and shelter for a variety of wildlife though, so it really is best left where it is.’

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