California Scrub Jays are fairly prolific in the Rancho Cucamonga and Alta Loma areas. Their appearance adds a splash of color and fun into your garden and are great to watch. They’re animated, vocal, and playful moving about inbold hops and lunges, looking around with sharp turns of the head.
Scrub Jays are one of the easiest birds to attract to your backyard. Although shy at first, simply by providing a source of food they will become regular visitors, quite often in small flocks. They are particularly fond of unsalted peanuts in the shell and sunflower seeds, we stock both at C.W. Feed and Pet Supply.
Try putting food out at the same time each day, preferably in the morning while they are searching for food. After the Scrub Jays learn your daily routine they will glide in gracefully to greet you.
With patience you can have them, literally, eating out of your hand. After filling the feeder stand still about 10 feet back and watch the action. Every day stand a little closer and eventually they will accept you as part of the environment.
Once they trust you standing close by, put your hand right next to the feeder. Try this for a few days so they get used to your hand being there. When you believe they are comfortable place peanuts or sunflower seeds in your hand instead of the feeder. Some of them will be skeptical but there will be one or two brave Jays that will eat straight out of your hand. The shy Jays will eventually follow suit.
Research suggests that Scrub Jays are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult jays rivals that of chimpanzees and is dwarfed only by that of humans.
They also have the rare trait of being able to plan for the future. They store food in various places and with highly accurate memories are able to recover the hidden caches, often after long periods of time.
Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay.
To protect their caches from pilfering, Scrub Jays will choose locations out-of-sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others.
Scrub jays have a mischievous streak, and they are not above outright theft. They have been caught stealing acorns from acorn woodpecker caches. Some Scrub Jays steal acorns they have watched other Jays hide. When these birds go to hide their own acorns, they check first that no other Jays are watching.
All this activity can be viewed in your own backyard with just a little effort.