It’s Spring! The season where the natural world rubs the sleep from its wintry eyes and springs to life (hey, maybe that’s why they call it Spring). It’s the time of year when the birds and bees, and all those other lovable critters, start getting jiggy with it. It’s the classic story: girl meets boy, boy flutters feathers to display virility, girl is young and naive and falls for feather-fluttering flirtation, boy and girl have a few too many acorns down at the local Oak, girl falls pregnant, boy and girl have shotgun wedding in Vegas and move into nest in leafy North London front garden, they live happily ever after.
Mrs Jay in her front garden, in my front garden
Well, I’m pleased to report that this fairytale is playing out directly outside my window, as I write these very words. Two Jays have started to build a home for themselves in amongst the vines enveloping the English Elm tree in the front garden. Naturally, until yesterday, I knew neither what a Jay, nor an English Elm looked like, but after extensive research on Google Images, I feel I can speak with some authority on the matter.
Jays like: trees, acorns, insects, berries, Kilburn.
Jays dislike: owls, Peregrines, me noisily opening my window to take a better picture of them.
Over the course of the Spring I hope to keep you updated on this young family’s progress. According to Wikipedia, we can expect 4-6 eggs laid, which should hatch after 16-19 days, the chicks fledging some 21-23 days later. The Jays are currently putting in the finishing touches to their little nest – a lick of paint here, an Ikea shelving unit there – so no signs of any eggs just yet.
the nest - under construction
Although I have no idea how to spot the difference between a boy-Jay and a girl-Jay, I feel it is only right that we give Mr and Mrs Jay some proper names. Please leave your suggestions in the comment box below, and hopefully we can name them within the next week or so.
Also, if you have any photos you’d like contribute to the NW6 Springwatch, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include them in a future post, or put them into a public gallery for all to see. Happy Springing!
Correction: Having consulted an actual expert, I can confirm that the tree is in fact some sort of Cherry tree, not, as stated above, an English Elm. Apologies.