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Jay

When garden birders first catch sight of a Jay they sometimes report back that they have seen an exotic bird in their garden. It’s very likely it was a Jay.

“Jays really are pretty splendid, and you may think utterly unmistakable. So why do they often prove to be puzzlers? I think it is because different features seem to catch different people’s eyes. “It was a bright pink”. “It had a crest”. “It was black and white when it flew”. “It had a bright blue wings.” All Jays. They have the lot, and they are beautiful.

However, they are also quite a scourge to other birds. Jays are certainly just as likely as Magpies to help themselves to eggs or nestlings, and yet I suspect people don’t blame them so readily because they are pretty! They also make dreadful noises. Not only horrible grating shrieks, but also all kinds of yelps and whimpers that sound more like cats than birds. Actually, it is often a rule in the bird world: birds that look good sound awful, and vice versa, dull ones sound great. (nightingales are simply little brown birds).

It is in September that Jays may seem to suddenly get much commoner. This is acorn time, when the birds not only harvest the nuts, but can be seen carrying them and burying them for winter fodder, and thus planting new oak trees. Mind you, this won’t stop Jays visiting bird tables, where they often get in first, and are unarguably greedy. But yes, they are rather lovely, so I don’t really mind!” – Bill Oddie

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When garden birders first catch sight of a Jay they sometimes report back that they have seen an exotic bird in their garden. It’s very likely it was a Jay.

“Jays really are pretty splendid, and you may think utterly unmistakable. So why do they often prove to be puzzlers? I think it is because different features seem to catch different people’s eyes. “It was a bright pink”. “It had a crest”. “It was black and white when it flew”. “It had a bright blue wings.” All Jays. They have the lot, and they are beautiful.

However, they are also quite a scourge to other birds. Jays are certainly just as likely as Magpies to help themselves to eggs or nestlings, and yet I suspect people don’t blame them so readily because they are pretty! They also make dreadful noises. Not only horrible grating shrieks, but also all kinds of yelps and whimpers that sound more like cats than birds. Actually, it is often a rule in the bird world: birds that look good sound awful, and vice versa, dull ones sound great. (nightingales are simply little brown birds).

It is in September that Jays may seem to suddenly get much commoner. This is acorn time, when the birds not only harvest the nuts, but can be seen carrying them and burying them for winter fodder, and thus planting new oak trees. Mind you, this won’t stop Jays visiting bird tables, where they often get in first, and are unarguably greedy. But yes, they are rather lovely, so I don’t really mind!” – Bill Oddie