Thursday, March 12, 2009
This fine bird was both sunning himself outside the window of my study yesterday afternoon. After a little research, Mark found out that he's a Western Scrub-Jay. Here's a little bit about his food storage habits, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Western Scrub-Jays, like many other corvids, exploit ephemeral surpluses in food supply by storing food in scattered caches within their territories. In the process of collecting and storing this food, western scrub-jays have shown an ability to plan ahead in choosing cache sites to provide adequate food volume and variety for the future. Western scrub-jays are also able to rely on their accurate observational spatial memories to steal food from caches made by conspecifics. To protect their caches from these potential 'pilferers', food storing birds implement a number of strategies to reduce this risk of theft. Western scrub-jays are also known for hoarding and burying brightly colored objects.
(If you embiggen the second image here, you'll actually see a berry inside his beak.)