Jay Watch at Dalkeith Country Park

It is said that if you see a large mature solitary oak it is almost guaranteed to have been planted by a Jay. Find out more about The Park’s resident Jays from our very own Park Ranger – Kieran Playfair.

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Jay at Dalkeith Country Park

Oak trees and Jays are recorded to have a special symbiotic relationship. A Jays primary food source is acorns, during the autumn a single Jay may plant as many as 7,500 acorns. This hording is to provide the Jay with a food source throughout the year but many acorns germinate and become seedlings. This process plays an important role in the dispersal of acorns and the reproduction of oaks.

Jays can collect up to six acorns in one trip and will hold their acorns in their gullet with the final acorn in their beak. They disperse their acorns widely and when several acorns are transported during one trip, these are generally buried at different sites. Jays prefer to bury their acorns in open spaces enabling the oak tree to spread its acorns from under the forest canopy.

 

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