COTD: Memory In Non-Humans Edition

Squirrels are terrible at burying acorns. California's Western Scrub Jay, on the other hand, is surprisingly careful with its food, much more than the fluffy rats your see people feeding in Washington Square Park.

There is still debate as to how well Scrub Jays remember where they hide acorns, but it's well documented that if they see another Jay watching them bury food, the first bird will return, dig up their own cache, and hide it somewhere else in private.


There's a lot that we can learn from the smaller-brained inhabitants of this planet, as smalleyxb112 pointed out when we discussed a thief who failed to bury a stolen truck.

Young Jeffery Paul liked to play in the sand
With naught but a bucket and shovel in hand.
But when he saw the toy trucks that young Freddie had,
Young Jeffery got jealous. Young Jeffery got mad.

So Jeffery thought up an ingenious plan
He'd steal Freddie's trucks, and hide them in the sand.
The plan, it had worked, and he never got caught
But the plan wasn't quite as perfect as thought.

When he went back to the sandbox to dig up his plunder
He couldn't recall where he'd buried them under.
Ignoring that fact, he had gotten away
Which is all he remembers about it this day.

When he again became jealous of another man's toys,
He thought back to his plan from when he was a boy.
"I'll just steal the truck, and bury it deep.
"No one the wiser, it'll be mine to keep."

But Jeff didn't realize how much sand was required
He was only half done by the time he got tired.
And a big white box truck is easy to spot
When it half of it's buried, and half of it's not.

Photo Credit: Alan Vernon

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