Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Friday 19 October 2012

Teaching the peanut pirate

A fairly quick observation today... as a wildlife-friendly gardener, I put out bird-food, including peanuts for blue tits and other species. However, birds don't read the labels explaining which food is allocated to which group of species and hence piracy is rife - not that I might - they all have to eat... Anyhow, this morning, I couldn't help notice even more jackdaw (Corvus monedula) activity than usual - given the large jackdaw roosts near here, there's almost always some - in particular a group on our garden fence. Among the usual bickering and squabbling, there was a calmer group of three which appeared to be a pair of adults (black, glossy) with a fledged youngster (some pale feather edges, scruffy neck, less assured behaviour).

A probable family group of jackdaws using a peanut feeder
The adults were feeding - and ejecting other birds that tried to do so - while the youngster watched (or in the above photo got distracted by something off to the right...). In any case, the lesson seemed to work because a couple of minutes later, the adults were perched nearby and the youngster was feeding.

Young jackdaw feeding on peanuts
A simple behavioural observation, but interesting to see in action - so, before I get carried away by the urge to anthropomorphise, I'll stop there - there's much written about the adaptability and learning abilities of corvids, including in one of my early posts here. Enjoy!

A beady-eyed jackdaw in our garden

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