Usual sus­pects for wal­nut theft

The Field - - Country Estate | Queries -

QA squir­rel has been raid­ing my neigh­bour’s wal­nut tree and bury­ing them in their green shells in my lawn. Some­thing is then com­ing along and dig­ging them up. What might that be? There are mag­pies, jays and crows in the area.

RD, Le­ices­ter­shire

AOne has to as­sume it is not your neigh­bour com­ing to re­trieve his wal­nuts in the dead of night, so there are var­i­ous likely cul­prits. The Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy (BTO) says it could be any of the birds men­tioned but, in par­tic­u­lar, the jay. Jays fre­quently bury their bounty of acorns, of­ten in a lawn. The jay is a watch­ful bird and is well-known for steal­ing other an­i­mals’ food, es­pe­cially as they of­ten for­get where they buried it. Badgers could also be re­spon­si­ble, as they eat a va­ri­ety of foods, from in­sects such as leather­jack­ets to fruit and veg­eta­bles. A lawn is a likely place to search for leather­jack­ets and as badgers are fond of nuts, the wal­nuts would be taken at the same time.

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