Species of the month: November - Jay

Let us know if you've seen one on our form below


Common Name: Jay

Scientific Name: Garrulus glandarius

Identification: Our most colourful corvid! The jay’s plumage is mostly a peachy colour, with bright blue patches on its wings and a distinguishing white rump, which is often seen when the jay is in flight. They also have a unique screeching call.

Behaviour: Jays can be seen hopping around the ground near trees, collecting and burying acorns. They are the least social of the corvid (crow) family but may be seen in small groups.

Diet: The main food source of the jay are acorns, which they collect and bury at this time of year to see them through the lean winter months. They will also eat other nuts and seeds, insects and even small mammals or nestlings of other birds.

Where can they be found?: Jay are most at home in woodland, but can often be spotted in parks or gardens with mature trees nearby. At this time of year they will be particularly fond of visiting anywhere with oak trees to take advantage of all the acorns. 

  • Jays can carry up to 10 acorns at a time; 9 in their ‘crop’ (a muscular pouch in their throat) and 1 in their beak.

  • Jays can collect and bury up to 3,000 acorns a month!

  • They have very good memories and can remember where most of their food is cached. However, they don’t find all of their acorns, and so they unwittingly help the next generation of oak trees to grow!

Wildife Gardening Tips:

  • Create a bird feeding station in your garden and make sure to keep it topped up through the winter. For attracting jays, try placing peanuts and large seeds on a low platform or on the ground.
  • Install a bird bath, or leave dishes of water outside for valuable drinking water for birds and other animals. Make sure to clean and resupply regularly to prevent the spread of diseases between animals.
  • If you have space, consider planting an oak tree. Not only will this provide plenty of acorns for jays, but in the future it could provide nesting spaces for birds and will attract a huge diversity of insects.

Let us know if you've seen a roe deer below...

Your Jay details
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Where appropriate we will pass on the details of your sighting to Dorset Environmental Records Centre in order for it to be of use in local and national conservation projects.
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