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Old Yesterday, 05:01 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,372 posts, read 826,533 times
Reputation: 4872

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We have a bunch of bird feeders hanging on Shepard Crooks near our house. I see cardinals & blue jays flying on past regularly, but they rarely stopped for a meal. Then I started leaving piles of oil seed on the flag stone wall just past the feeders and now the cards & jays love to stop!


Anyway, I looked up this site Blue Jay: Acorn Planters | Center for Environmental Communication | Loyola University New Orleans to learn a little about the natural history of jays. Fascinating. They help expand their own habitat by transporting and planting tree nuts & seeds.


The rapid expansion of the eastern hardwood forests after the retreat of the glaciers may have been enabled by the jays activity.


And they're really good tree farmers:


"Carter and Adkisson found a germination rate of 88% in beechnuts taken by blue jays, whereas there was a 10% germination rate among beechnuts the researchers randomly collected from the same trees. Blue jays appear to test the nuts by holding them in their beaks or shaking them. Those that they deem unworthy are simply dropped to the ground." !!!
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Old Yesterday, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MISSOURI
7,379 posts, read 2,180,985 times
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Squirrels are even bigger forest-planters than blue jays.
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Old Yesterday, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
21,920 posts, read 4,610,841 times
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I think Blue Jays and Cardinals are just too big and heavy to perch on a hanging feeder....

Had the same issue. Both birds started coming to larger, stationary feeders.

Imagine how they'd make those hanging feeders swing with their weight....if they could even find a perch spot.
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Old Yesterday, 02:26 PM
 
Location: on the wind
5,569 posts, read 2,149,909 times
Reputation: 19199
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
I think Blue Jays and Cardinals are just too big and heavy to perch on a hanging feeder....

Had the same issue. Both birds started coming to larger, stationary feeders.

Imagine how they'd make those hanging feeders swing with their weight....if they could even find a perch spot.
Yep, partly because of their weight and size they are a little less maneuverable than a smaller bird when clinging. Probably why they forage more on the ground in general. If they need to take flight in a hurry having the solid fixed surface under them makes that easier. A swinging feeder absorbs the force and gives them less "pushoff".
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Old Today, 12:55 AM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,594 posts, read 6,156,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post

...... And they're really good tree farmers:

Good to know. I'd have repped you again but I have to spread some love around so this +1 will have to do.


I didn't know that they planted trees either and that helped solve a long time mystery for me. I looked it up about our local western jays (we don't have Blue Jays on the west coast) and discovered that our west coast Steller's Jays, Gray Jays (aka Mountain Whiskey Jacks), crows and magpies all do the same thing. They all plant tree nuts in the ground, and they hide big caches of nuts and seeds. And they're all corvidaes, so I guess it is a corvidae habit. Now I understand why it is that sometimes we come across solitary, lonely coastal Garry Oaks growing high up in the mountains miles away from the Pacific's shorelines and in other isolated places where they ordinarily wouldn't be found so far from the ocean.


.
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Old Today, 04:20 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,372 posts, read 826,533 times
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Another "I didn't know that"-- https://www.cmnh.org/perkins-wildlif...mmunity/coyote


Coyotes were originally a desert/plaines species and weren't often found east of the Mississippi R. They weren't documented in Ohio until 1919 (!)...as wolf populations declined, coyotes seem to have filled the niche in the 20th century east of the Miss.R.
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