Friday, February 20, 2015

European Jay

Luc Viatour /
The third corvid in this mini-series (catching up on missed posts) is an absolute corker: the European Jay or Garrulus glandarius. The European races have streaked crowns. Their stunning blue wing markings are borrowed from the kingfisher's back and beloved of fly-fishermen. Up close through binoculars it just strikes one as bizarre that such markings could have evolved through some process of selecting an advantageous feature: they appear entirely aesthetic.

Their name derives from their haranguing alarm call. If you ever hear a pair fighting it out in the woods it sounds like someone's torturing children. They have been coming to our garden daily over the winter but we rarely see them during the breeding season.
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