We have been noticing that the aggressive scrub jays like to hang around our hives and sunflowers, picking off bees. I suppose there are enough to go around. Anyone else observe this? We are in Hood River, OR
I notice this quite often in my yard. In addition to Scrub Jays, I also see Western Tanagers when they are in town. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. A couple scrub jays aren’t going to hurt the colony too badly.
I have been researching bird predation of honey bees for an article I am writing for a bee magazine. Without having first hand experience with this situation on my hives, research I have been studying indicates that these birds prefer drone bees over workers when possible. Predators are creatures of opportunity, quickly learning easiest and safest organisms to prey on. Drones, large, slow flying morsels, of protein- without stingers are clearly preferred. This isn’t to say these birds avoid the workers with stingers. They have indeed, also developed methods of catching and dispatching workers without getting stung.
Any keepers willing to share any observations of particularly interesting behaviors of these “bee eaters”, please let me know.
Thanks to all,