Birds stop what they are doing and gather from miles around to hold noisy funeral services for their dead, it has been revealed.
A study of the behavioural patterns of western scrub jays by researchers at the University of California in Davis, found the birds often fly down to a dead body and gather around it squaking nosily.
The researchers, led by Teresa Iglesias, conducted a series of experiments which monitored the birds' reactions to a variety of objects placed in back gardens.
They included pieces of wood in different colours, dead jays, mounted, stuffed jays, stuffed great horned owls and were intended to simulate the presence of live jays and predators.
While the jays reacted indifferently to the wooden objects, when they spied a dead bird they started calling out to others long distances away.
The calls, known as 'zeeps', 'scolds' and 'zeep-scolds', encouraged other jays to attend large noisy congregations around the dead body.
As they appeared to mourn the dead bird, the jays would also stop foraging for food often for over a day.
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