Why do Jays bury Acorns?

by Russ on September 28, 2013

The beautiful Jay has a loud 'Screech' for a call.One of the most stunning birds in October has to be the Jay. A type of corvid, it’s related to crows and magpies but looks completely different. Light brown feathers with a black and white tail. Add to that a band of azure blue on the wings and you have one good looking bird!

In Autumn, jays are very busy. Within their family groups, they are collecting as many acrons as possible and can be seen burying them all across the woodland. But is this a case of a complete bird brain or something more intelligent?

Jays love to eat acorns.With winter around the corner, the Jays know the trees will soon run out of food for them. So they decide to hide as many acorns as possible in a larder. Once the snow starts to fall, these birds will return to all these hiding places to retrieve their prize. By working together, they ensure they have enough food to last through the winter.


Corvid intelligence has long been a subject of research, but how clever are they really?But although intelligent, Jays are slightly forgetful. The won’t remember where every acorn is and some will not be recovered. But this is crucial for the forest, as every forgotten seed will end up growing into a young sapling in spring and a lucky few will become the towering giants of the future. It’s thanks to creatures like the Jays that our forests keep growing. The interesting question is do they actually realise what they’re doing and deliberately ‘planting’ the next generation of trees?

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