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Laura Klappenbach

Eurasian Jays - Careful to Keep Quiet

By December 28, 2012

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Eurasian jays are pretty crafty birds when it comes to hiding and stealing food. Like all members of the crow family, Eurasian jays hoard food—burying it in thousands of locations when food supplies are in abundance during summer and fall months. Then during the times of the year when food is scarce, the jays dig up the food they hoarded. If they can't find enough of their own stash, the resort to stealing the food stored by other jays.

A study led by scientists from the University of Cambridge has revealed that when Eurasian jays know they another jay is within earshot, they hide their food as quietly as possible. Likewise, when a jay spies another hiding its food, it keeps quieter than usual so as to not be detected and to be able to pilfer the other bird's food given the opportunity.

This research has demonstrated that humans are not the alone in the understanding that other creatures can hear what they are doing. Like humans, jays too keep an ear out for those around them and modify their behavior accordingly.

Photo © Ben Cranke / Getty Images.

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