googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Behaviour: Jays fast at ‘funeral’ for dead birds

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Behaviour: Jays fast at ‘funeral’ for dead birds

A study in California discovered that jays hold ‘funerals’ when they spot a dead jay, and show obvious signs of distress and concern:
But when they spied a dead bird, they started making alarm calls, warning others long distances away.

The jays then gathered around the dead body, forming large cacophonous aggregations. The calls they made, known as "zeeps", "scolds" and "zeep-scolds", encouraged new jays to attend to the dead.

The jays also stopped foraging for food, a change in behaviour that lasted for over a day.
We noticed similar behaviour a few months ago when one of our Siamese cats (the hunter) caught a sparrow on the terrace.

The sparrow’s mate perched on the railings around the terrace for four days, desperately calling out in shrill tones for its partner.
The Hunter - now belled

Every time we or a cat stepped out onto the terrace, the plaintive calls increased in intensity, and the sorrowful little bird seemed to be directing its calls at us.

Since then, both cats have been belled.




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