Other Birds - Sounds Wild
Birds Cache


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Bird's Cache

On a summer day a raven landed in the vacant lot across the street from my house. He looked around, then hopped over to a fallen log. He rooted around underneath it with his beak for a few seconds, then pulled out a big piece of bread and flew off. Over the following weeks, I watched ravens hide food and retrieve cached food from several hiding places in this same area. In some cases I saw food retrieved - or perhaps stolen by another raven - just a few minutes after it had been hidden. The birds were always secretive. Sometimes a raven would hop around and pretend to hide the food in four or five different places, then hide it for real, then pretend to hide it in a few more places before flying off.

Jays - another corvid and cousin to the raven - are well known to hide food. My neighbor feeds Steller jays peanuts, and many times I've pulled peanuts out of my flower pots and dug them out of my garden beds where the jays have stashed them.

Corvids are good at hiding food, but many other birds do this as well. Nutcrackers, nuthatches and chickadees store seeds. And studies have shown that birds show a remarkable ability to remember a large number of caches.

Kestrels and shrikes will store mice and insects by sticking them on thorns or barbs of barb-wire fences.

Acorn woodpeckers wedge acorns into crevices they chisel into the bark of trees. The red-headed woodpecker stores food in caches, like a larder, to save for winter use, and will defend these caches against other birds and squirrels.