Siberian Jay
Perisoreus infaustus

Graphite pencil, Fabriano paper


Siberian jays are rare in the places where I travel in the north. They require mature coniferous forests with dense canopies where they can hide their nestlings from predators. It is an astonishing bird, known within Scandinavian mythology. What I really want to talk about is what they eat. They are omnivores so they don't really mind eating fresh meat or berries. They eat fungus too, surprisingly, fly agaric. We found lots of the fly agaric along a road with a triangle shape cut out from the edges of the red hat top of the mushroom. So I was thinking what's the chance that birds got intoxicated with it. I also found out that they have their own dance-like performance that Blomberg described in his book “Lavskrika” (1964):

“The male sat on the top of a spruce. Suddenly he dropped straight down, with wings close to the body. Reaching the lower part of the spruce, he spread his wings and swung into the branches of the spruce. There, as if possessed by an evil spirit, he whirled around the trunk and up and down among the branches, the wings clattering.”

Wish I could get more information from Swedish people and if someone really has seen them dancing like this!

I've seen something similar to waxwings. A swarm of them was disorientated and swirling around trunks like a frenzy. In winter birds get intoxicated with fermented berries (I'm just about to ferment them for winter too)