When a Western scrub jay dies, researchers report, other jays may hold a kind of funeral — screeching over the body for as long as half an hour.

It is not clear yet exactly why the birds display this behavior. “Perhaps having more individuals helps them locate and chase away the predator,” said Teresa Iglesias, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis, and an author of a new study on the jays. “Larger groups of birds are better at chasing away predators from an area.”

Dr. Iglesias and her colleagues report their findings in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Read more at NYT.

Published On: January 7, 2013

One Comment

  • Brock Haussamen says:

    Judging from the full article, the behavior sounds more like the kind of alarm and help-seeking that humans display when, say, a person collapses or is violently ill than it does mourning at a funeral.

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