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Jay Planted Oak screenprint

Jay Planted Oak screenprint

£35.00

This screenprint is a celebration of Jays and Oaks, looking after one another as they have for centuries. I recently listened to the audiobook of 'Orchard: A Year in England's Eden' - an enchanting experience, and learnt more about Jays and their symbiotic relationship with the Oak tree. I knew they ate acorns and stashed them places in Autumn, but didn't know about their hidey holes, and how the Oaks that grow from 'forgotten' acorns aren't necessarily forgotten after all. (I've pasted in an excerpt from the book below for the detailed story). So here's a Jay eyeing up some fresh acorns, and one of the mighty Oaks its ancestors likely planted centuries ago. Loved getting the colours and overlays on this one good. And that clever Jay's eye :) Yes Jay.

Printed in three colours (water based) on white GFSmith Naturalis paper (350gsm) size 8x10" (203 x 254mm), image size 106 x 142 mm approx, in an edition of 55. Signed and numbered.

From Orchard: A Year in Englands Eden by Benedict MacDonald & Nicholas Gates.

"...each individual jay – capable of storing five thousand acorns in the course of a winter – will generally cache these in a baffling range of different sites. With around ten jays, parents and young on the wing by October, this means that around 50,000 acorns will be stashed in and around the orchard each autumn. Some will be wedged securely in cracks in the bark, others buried in the ground (jays may have to dig through a foot of snow to get these out). It has previously been held that jays, being mere birds, forget about a lot of the acorns that they stash, while dropping others by accident. These, of course, are the acorns that can grow, over time, into oaks. But what if this, too, wasn’t an accident? What if jays didn’t forget?

Scientists curious about those ‘forgotten’ acorns have returned to watch what happens the following spring. Jays, they found, return to many newly planted oak saplings within their territories. They then actively defoliate the young oak leaves, carry them off and feed them to their newly hatched chicks. These nutritious fledgling oak leaves, known as cotyledons, are unique – jays do not take the young leaves of other species nor can their chicks digest the leaves of a mature oak. This fresh salad for their infants is harvested from the very trees grown from acorns cached the previous autumn and winter. In other words, rather than forgetting stashed acorns by accident, there is strong evidence to show that these avian geniuses leave them by design..."

For the full excerpt:
https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/a33521244/orchard-a-year-in-englands-eden/#

Jay Planted Oak screenprint Image 2 Jay Planted Oak screenprint Image 3
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