Scrub Jays Hold “Funerals” for Dead Birds

Scientists studying the behavior of western scrub jays have observed the birds seemingly marking the death of fellow birds with so-calledfuneral congregations. The researchers tested the birds’ reactions to different objects by placing colored pieces of wood, stuffed jays, and dead jays in residential yards. When the birds encountered a dead jay, they made warnings calls to jays long distances away. The birds would then stop foraging and gather around the dead bird while making calls to encourage other jays to attend. When the presence of a predator was simulated by placing a stuffed great horned owl nearby, the jays also made a series of alarm calls. More… Discuss

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