Posted by: atowhee | August 21, 2022


The jays, and sometimes crows, cannot ignore peanuts for free. Their behavior reveals social values among the corvids. I see before me their tribal politics. They are tribal. There’s nothing that arouses corvid ferocity like a visible predator from outside their group, even soaring Turkey Vultures can get attacked. A Coop or red-tail–immediate vigilante assault.
First rule of corvidity: Thou shallt share all information. Anything of interest to other corvids from food to danger is broadcast verbally, often repeated around the neighborhood. Secrecy about food or fears is not allowed. If it is food, more eyes find more food and sharing is good for the species. More eyes are more likely to see danger and sharing the warning is good for the species. These are Darwinian values that preclude the raw crow-eat-crow competition that has come to be so valued in some mammalian economies we can see around us.
Second rule: Competition and private property are blessed, but thou shallt not be violent . Each jay or crow is out to grab peanut(s) and then cache same in some secret hidey-hole. Theft later is apparently possible. Squirrels–as even we hominids know–cannot be trusted. No physical violence among corvids over food. They likely could not conceive of a mass murder like some animals we know (from mink to mammon). Bernd Heinrich’s study of ravens found the youngsters would allow mated pairs first bite after a member of the community found and shared the location of a tasty carcass.
Third rule: Watch and learn. Those slow-moving critters down below cannot fly but they have some access to food supplies we do not have. Where do those peanuts come from?
Is there a fourth rule? Worship the peanut deity? Praise the nut-lord and pass the communion? The jays certainly show no reverence for the shells, leaving them flung about. Any jay bowing I see has to do with visual triangulation, not obeisance.

One sad note this summer in Jaydom. I have not seen a junco jay in some weeks. There was such a youngster, I think, this past spring. Now–nada. I first saw the local junco hay back in the fall of 2020, and that bird was still around in winter, 2022. This is link to post on junco jay from last summer.

I have a bird walk coming up in Polk County. (ALMOST) FALL BIRD WALK
Sponsored by Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District. Click here for details–need to register in advance. The location is not generally accessible. It has good riparian, grasslands and mature oak grove.

Some African birds endangered by drought–click here.

Not all climate news is bad, click here and you’ll be puffin’ up with joy.

And there’s tech we can use to save sperm whales…we certainly owe them that after what our forefathers did.

Wind energy, or Golden Eagles–it’s our choice.


  1. Those junco jays may all be hiding out at my house, now that the stellars have informed them of the regular peanut diety offerings that occur here. 😉

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