Rejected!

After seeing a great photo of a bluejay carrying three acorns in its beak (in a recent post by Mike Powell) I thought I would do a little experiment in the backyard to find out whether squirrels or birds would be the first to find a new supply of acorns.  I positioned a half dozen acorns around the yard in plain sight, and started my timer.

But apparently, not all acorns are equally attractive, and the kind I picked up were too big or too distasteful to attract attention.

The red squirrel barely gave my acorn a glance before moving off to find other goodies.

The red squirrel barely gave my acorn a glance before moving off to find other goodies.

The bluejay gave it a really good look, first with one eye and then with the other.

The bluejay gave it a really good look, first with one eye and then with the other.  I wonder if this head tilting behavior to inspect potential food means that they don’t really have binocular vision?

Hmm....not my type.

Hmm….not my type.

The twins were less than impressed.  The one on the right gave the acorn a sniff, but couldn't get away fast enough.

The twins were less than impressed. The one on the right gave the acorn (sitting conspicuously on a rock at nose level) a sniff, but couldn’t get away fast enough.

Well, so much for my backyard experiment.  All of the acorns are still in position. Yet, acorns are a part of the diet of all three of these species.  They must have been inferior quality.  Rejected!

6 thoughts on “Rejected!

  1. I love this kind of experiment, Sue. Who would have guessed that they all would have rejected your handpicked acorns? It makes you wonder what causes each of them to select an acorn. Maybe none of them was hungry or maybe they thought it was a trap. Let us know if one of them gives in and takes one of your offerings.

  2. What a brilliant experiment! The outcome was obvious to me – it was either going to be the squirrel or the blue jay! You seem to have come across something that will give you a lot of head scratching. I can’t understand the reluctance of the young, ravenous deer either. Out of context? A trap? Our wild birds tend to take a while to get used to new food containers. mmm. more thought needed.

    • Actually, I thought the Red-bellied Woodpecker would have grabbed the acorns, or perhaps the bluejays. We have so many nuts (walnuts, buckeye) in the backyard, the squirrels are probably satiated.

    • The deer might have smelled my scent, but the red squirrel ran right by it without stopping to sniff. I don’t think birds can smell (except for vultures).

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