A jay in the garden

by Richard Jones

Monday morning and a jay visited the kitchen window. I always think these are incredibly handsome birds...

Monday morning and a jay visited the kitchen window. I always think these are incredibly handsome birds and the small blue wing feathers still give me a childish thrill when I find one dropped. I can't resist picking it up to stick in my hat. The jay was not interested in the kitchen, it sat on the fire escape railings and peered intently at the now slightly pock-marked black hammerite paintwork. At first I thought it was after some of the spilled guinea-pig food around the hutch. I think the pig deliberately throws out tasty morsels to attract squirrels for an early morning gossip. The cats spend all day long waiting to charge out through the cat-flap after them, but always to no avail.

When I first saw the jay, it startled and flew up into the apple tree, but only a minute or two later and it was back. It then started to peck around the handrail and the iron mesh. It spent some time clawing its way up and down the metalwork, and was definitely intent on getting at something.

Eventually it flew off and I went out to have a look. Nothing. All very curious until I went out again on Tuesday and had a look around. There, sheltering against the recesses of the bars and grills are several small garden snails and amongst them are some garden spiders, waiting at the end of the silk strand guys from the webs that now criss-cross the stairs. Were these the target of my visitor's attentions?

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Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 14:27

I have a mature stand of turkey oaks across the road from my front garden, and at the back of our houses the gardens converge to form a large shrubby & grassed area. This is excellent acorn-burying territory, and the two pairs of resident jays are constantly flying to & from the oaks all day long. I've been bombed twice in the garden in the last three days, as an over-ambitious jay has lost its grip on the last of its booty held in its beak. The random scattering of acorns across the surface of the lawn suggest that this is not uncommon!

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 15:40

Lovely to read about these birds, as they tend to occur this far north.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/10/2008 at 08:06

Yesterday morning I witnessed 4 "shrieker in the woods",probably parents and their 2 offspring.There seems to be more Jays around this year.This was in a small wood near my home in Bournemouth

Gardeners' World Web User 25/10/2008 at 20:48

Jays always seem to appear at this time of the year, despite being around all year really. I had them in the garden this morning and they are very pretty. I am not sure that the other birds here are as keen on them as I am though!

Gardeners' World Web User 04/11/2008 at 19:35

I was thrilled to have a pair of jays frequenting my Lancashire garden I have only ever seen them in our local Towneley park .They entertain me searching out monkey nuts and loose peanuts hidden in peeling tree bark and other nooks and crannies that usually only the squirrels know about !

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