Corvid 2020 Weekly Challenge #8

 

My wonderful friend Tracy from over at Reflections of An Untidy Mind started a lovely new blog challenge seven weeks ago – the Corvid 2020 Weekly Challenge.

Here’s a little snippet from her, so you know what it’s all about:

“Corvids are birds belonging to the Corvidae family, encompassing ravens, crows, magpies, jays and nutcrackers.  So peruse your corvid photo, poetry, music and story archives and join the challenge.

You can participate in the Corvid-2020 Weekly Challenge by creating a pingback to this post (my pingback approval settings are set up for manual approval, so it may take a little while for your pingback to appear) and/or by leaving a hyperlink to your submission in the comments.   Tag your post Corvid-2020 or C20WC.  I really do hope you will join in.”

 

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Eurasian jay (Berlin 2016)

 

Today’s response to her challenge shows you the Eurasian jay, or “Eichelhaeher” as it is called in German.

The Eurasian jay was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work Systema Naturae. He recognised its affinity with other corvids, naming it Corvus glandarius. The current scientific name is from Latin; Garrulus means noisy or chattering, and glandarius is “of acorns”, a favoured food.

A member of the widespread jay group, it inhabits mixed woodland, particularly with oaks, and is a habitual acorn hoarder.

In recent years, the bird has begun to migrate into urban areas, possibly as a result of continued erosion of its woodland habitat. Before humans began planting the trees commercially on a wide scale, Eurasian jays were the main source of movement and propagation for the European oak (Q. robur), each bird having the ability to spread more than a thousand acorns each year(!).

 

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A Eurasian jay eating a peanut. The jays that live in my near-by park love eating whole peanuts with their shells, and I have often watched them swallowing 3 or 4 at once, stored in their crops. (Berlin 2016)

 

Jays have been recorded carrying single acorns as far as 20 km, and are credited with the rapid northward spread of oaks following the last ice age.

Its usual call is the alarm call which is a harsh, rasping screech and is used upon sighting various predatory animals, but the jay is well known for its mimicry, often sounding so like a different species that it is virtually impossible to distinguish its true identity unless the jay is seen.

 

One of my favorite authors of children’s fiction, Cornelia Funke, nicknamed one of the characters of her Inkheart trilogy (Mo Folchart, Meggie’s father) after this striking looking bird with its magical blue feathers, which I particularly liked.

If you haven’t read the books, I can very much recommend them – don’t worry, they have been translated in English, so no need to learn German. 😉

 

 

 

41 thoughts on “Corvid 2020 Weekly Challenge #8

  1. Lovely post Sarah, with beautiful photos. Jays are such beautiful birds but I rarely see them here. I was struck by their size the first time I saw one. And as you could predict – Linnaeus is one of my heroes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Darren! 🙏💕 He’s also one of mine. 😉 We have quite a healthy population of jays here and it’s funny watching the young ones during spring and early summer. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love seeing all the birds people post. I can’t see many in real life unless I get really close. Great shot. I used to read German children’s books but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the names of any. I was only allowed to read them at my Oma’s and Opa’s place. My mother never let us speak German at home. But I remembered more than she thought possible. If you don’t use it, you lose it though. Hope you are still doing well.

    Like

  3. What a lovely post. I love birds. We get a Eurasian Jay in our garden sometimes! It’s so lovely to see all the different types of birds there are. Have a great weekend Sarah. Hope you are well xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been enjoying the photos of those birds on Tracy’s blog for a while now! They are very pretty..and prior to this challenge, I had never heard of a covid bird. Learn something new everyday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a pretty jay with its blue band. Your photos capture it perfectly.

    I grew up in New Jersey on the east coast of the US, and got to see so many wonderful birds. Blue jays were always hanging around, along with cardinals, orioles, robins, goldfinches, chickadees, finches, and woodpeckers. I’m certain there were plenty more but those are the birds I remember spotting in the trees around our house. Once in a while I’d find a partial egg shell on the sidewalk after its inhabitant hatched, and I saved all of them. Kids, what else do we have to save as our treasures but broken bird shells, fallen feathers, abandoned nests, pretty stones, chipped sea shells, and marbles. I was a big collector back then.

    We live now on the west coast of the US and most of the birds of my childhood don’t. Lots of crows around my house – raucous, dirty, and completely annoying. They are solid black, hang in large groups, and scare away most other birds. The worst is that they ate 15 of the Monarch butterfly caterpillars in our yard, so right now they are definitely on my go-live-someplace-else list.

    I do love your photos, Sarah. They make the bird look like it knows how to mind its own business and nobody else’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shari!
      Now I wish I had seen as many birds as you have in your childhood! Having always lived in the city most birds I grew up with were sparrows and pigeons.
      And I can’t remember having ever found an egg shell, but stones and sea shells were high on the list for my treasure box. 😉 Oh, and cinema ticket stubs!

      That’s awful about the crows having eaten so many Monarch butterfly caterpillars! Such beautiful butterflies and endangered too, I believe?
      Yes, crows can be pretty annoying, especially when they’re in large groups – much like young adult men. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The bird doesn’t look big enough to carry around acorns, Sarah, or to eat three peanuts at once! Lol. How interesting that they’ve spread oak trees around. I love the way that nature is intertwined. Lovely photos. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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