Date: June 29, 2016
Source: Central Ornithology Publication Office
Anyone who's gone camping has seen birds foraging for picnic crumbs, and according to new research in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, the availability of food in campgrounds significantly alters jays' behavior and may even change how they interact with other bird species.
Steller's Jays are intelligent, adaptable birds, and in California's Redwood National and State Parks, the ready availability of food draws them to campgrounds. Tracking the behavior of jays near living near campgrounds and comparing it with jays living in more natural areas of the same parks, Will Goldenberg of Humboldt State University and his colleagues found that having easy access to food made jays living near campgrounds less territorial. Campground jays spent less time foraging and more time near the ground than their counterparts without access to campgrounds.