Although the most colourful members of the crow family, Jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy, woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. Instead, they are most often distinguished by their screaming call. This is usually given when on the move, so upon hearing, watch for a bird flying between the trees with a distinctive flash of white on the rump. Jays are known for their preference for acorns – in the autumn you may see them burying acorns for a later, winter retrieval.
Adult: Jays have a crow-like appearance with a black and white crown, a black tail of medium length, a white rump, buff-brown upperparts and black wings. They have a pink-buff breast and belly and distinctive blue and white barred patching on their wing coverts.
Bill: Black, short and thin.
Legs: Buff, medium length.
Habitat: Forests, hedges, heaths and gardens.
Behaviour: Perches openly, hops, flits, takes off from vegetation/ground.
Flight: Laboured, direct.
Voice: Harsh kaaa.
Nest: Cup-shaped, in forks of trees.
Eggs: 5—7. Pale green and speckled.
Incubation period: 16—17 days.
Fledgeling: 19—20 days.
Broods: 1. April—May.
Food: Nuts, nestlings, worms and insects.
UK breeding pairs: 100,000.
Countrywide Peanuts, Countrywide Dried Mealworms.