On my regular walks at the Rock I often hear the screech of the Jay coming from the topmost branches among the trees.Yesterday was no exception.
The Jay is a member of the crow family although much more brightly coloured than its relatives.
Its favourite habitat is woodland where oak,beech and hazel grow where it tends to feed on the ground looking for acorns,beech nuts and hazelnuts.They will also eat soft fruit.
In the summer months eggs belonging to other birds will be sought out and they have also been known to eat insects,mice,fish and bread;they do not however eat grain or carrion.
In the autumn acorns are hoarded and several thousand are stored to provide a constant food supply.
The spring courtship display culminates in the male turning sideways to the female while raising its breast and body feathers - see the middle photo above,courtesy of the Irish Wildlife site.
The nest is sited in a tree and is made with twigs,earth and hair.A clutch of five to seven eggs is incubated for two weeks with the young birds spending a further three weeks in the nest.
The name as Gaeilge:- An Screachog - captures for me the shrill shrieking call of the Jay to perfection.
Keep an eye out for the bird and an ear to their call,you will not be disappointed.
author artist activist