We’ve all heard of the jay, but have you ever seen one?
You’d know if you did – they’re a noisy and colourful member of the bossy crow family.
The jay is a cheeky chap with its considerable noise, and it’s actually quite attractive – it’s a blend of pink and brown on its body, and its wings are mainly black with some white patches but with a striking blue-black striped feature which makes them easy to spot in the garden.
The Eurasian jay is probably the one, if you’re lucky enough to spot one, that you’re most likely to see, although there are quite a few species in the jaybird family.
And, they do love an acorn!
They’re famous for their acorn-loving habits so, if you have a garden or live in the countryside, you’re more likely to see a jay than the rest of us.
A really sad fact about these feathered friends we have in the UK is that quite a few of them are in danger of migrating for good from Blighty or actually becoming extinct. All together.
Climate change, pollution, and changes in habitat, as well as a threat from humans, are the main reasons for the fact that over the last 200 years, we’ve lost seven species of breeding birds – that’s a lot…
But the good news is that ‘pest’ bird species such as crows, woodpigeons, and jays can no longer be freely killed in England after the government’s conservation watchdog revoked the licence that originally permitted it.
Jays, which are not usually seen in gardens, are being driven out of the countryside and into people’s gardens in search of food now because of the changes to the environment…
More jays were seen in gardens searching for alternative food sources after a particularly bad crop of acorns last year.
Where can you see them?
You can find jays across most of the UK, except in northern Scotland.
They live in both deciduous and coniferous woodland, parks, and mature gardens, and you can see jays all year round, but usually more apparent in the autumn time when they travel most in search of acorns, beech mast and hazelnuts to bury.
Jays can also be extremely territorial over both their food and nesting areas and are not afraid to attack other birds, and so they’re not extremely popular birds as they have been spotted attacking other birds’ nests and eating either their young nestlings or eggs.
They’re classified as green under the Birds of Conservation listings and are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
So, they’re not exactly endangered, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going…