The aims of this study were to test whether or not Jays Garrulus glandarius store stones and, if so, to examine the conditions under which they store stones. By directly observing the behaviour of five captive jays that were housed individually in flight cages, we found that stones were stored only in the absence of food items or when food items were no longer available to store and that there was a strong preference for storing stones that resembled acorns in both size and appearance (in terms of colour, shape and smoothness of the surface) and were undamaged rather than heavily chipped. These results are discussed in terms of Tinbergen's classic ethological model in which animals respond selectively to certain key features and ignore other features of the stimulus.
Field of Research
059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified