On Determination: The Western Scrub-Jay

November 24, 2015

On recent lake walks I have noticed the absence of our familiar little furry caterpillars. However, I have seen a lot of frisky scrub-jays in the, well, the scrub. The scrub-jay is a very clever and determined little bird… one of the few to eat the hairy caterpillars that have guard hairs that other critters find abrasive when swallowed. The little scrub-jay simply shaves the caterpillar by rubbing against the sand before swallowing the delicacy.


An already-plump Western scrub-jay about to feast on a formerly-hairy caterpillar. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2015.

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