Q. Blue Jays are stuffing themselves with seed!! They take seed after seed after seed, not even stopping to open the seeds! What are they doing with all that seed?
A. When jays take numerous seeds without stopping to open them, they are placing food in their crop, which is an expandable pouch in their esophagus that temporarily holds food. This allows them to transport large amounts of food to a place to be stored for future use.
In one study, a Blue Jay was observed packing over 100 sunflower seeds in its crop during just one visit to a feeder! Check out the bulge in this jay's throat - it's chock full of birdseed!
Not all birds have a crop like the jay's. Blue Jays are one of the birds that store, or cache, food for future use. According to The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, "Birds that cache food use distinctive rocks, logs, and other habitat features as cues to the locations of their buried food. Memory of these cues allows the bird to return and dig up most of the caches."