Jay, Go Be Wild, Barbara Copperthwaite
Jay, Go Be Wild, Barbara Copperthwaite

Jay

 

This colourful relative of the crow can be surprisingly hard to spot. Despite their dusky pink bodies, eye-catching black sections, and very smart azure blue wing patch, it is more often the white rump that people see - as the bird flies away from them.

Even then, they are lucky to catch a glimpse, as the Jay is a secretive, shy bird that likes to hide in the tangle of a tree's branches.

Although not often seen, they are certainly heard, creating a wife range of noises, from a harsh screeching call to softer mewings and clicks.

Rather like the Magpie, the Jay gets some people very hot under the collar; they are disliked for their nest-robbing. But these beautiful, shy birds also play a vitally important role in the continuation of England's and Wales's woodlands. How? They love acorns!

When they find fallen acorns they will pick them up and fly to a secret storage place, carrying up to six at a time (one in their mouths, up to five in their oesophegus). They then come back to the acorns later and feed on them...but they don't always recover every one, and those that are forgotten will germinate. So Jays are key seed dispersers for the Oak (and also the Beech).