European Jays likely use cognitive strategies as opposed to innate or learned rules when seeking and hiding food according to a new study reported in BBC Nature – Clever jays switch food-finding tactics.
When presented with a variety situations the jays displayed thinking behavior when hiding and stealing food. Researcher found that jays used different strategies based on their assessment of social hierarchy of other birds. When the jays were dominant they would boldly steal food from subordinate birds even in when the other birds were in full view. However, if the other birds were dominate the jays were very secretive when hiding food and would only attempt to steal food from more dominant birds when they were distances away.