Monday, January 6, 2014

Thoughts on Blue Jays...

We have been overrun by a gang of blue jays.  We've been feeding birds around our house for ten years and have the occasional blue jay visit but this year has been unusual.  The gang of rowdy big blue birds known so well for keeping a look out for predators has taken over our platform feeders.  Their huge numbers have kept the smaller birds away; at any given time there are six or eight on the platform while the cardinals, titmice, native sparrows and chickadees sit in the bushes waiting for their turn.  Blue jays have a crop they can fill with seeds, and while they are responsible for planting some seeds, their voracious appetite can decimate a feeder in a matter of hours, even the one we fill with a bucket.  After they fill their crop, they hurry off to hide the seeds.  Research shows that they are very good at remembering where most of their seeds are, the rest will germinate and produce new seeds.  If a hawk or owl comes close, the jays will sound an alarm which sends all the smaller birds running for cover.  The jays have learned, however, that if they sound an alarm with no predator in the area, the birds fleeing will leave the feeder for them.  Cheeky little devils, right?  Against the white of the snow and in the bright sunshine, the jays are beautiful but remind me of a teenage gang prowling the neighborhood scaring the residents.  They are pretty much all hat, no cattle, but since they are so much bigger than most of the birds, they command attention.  And since they camp out on the platform feeder, we feed in two other places to give the smaller birds a chance at the seed.  The weather is so frightful, I suspect lots of birds won't make it through the winter.  I like to think we help by providing seed, peanuts, suet and fresh, clean water.  We have a heated bird bath we keep filled for the birds and sometimes the deer.  Everything here is frozen solid and the animals need water to survive.  Our cats have a seat in the bay window overlooking one feeder and the bird bath.  Our Persian talks to the birds, chattering like an eagle.  So funny.  Sadie, the evil one, just stares without moving but I would pity any bird who gets within reach, finding clean water would be the least of its problems.

1 comment:

  1. Ah......CatTV! Ours uses our front windows to watch the world go by. They spend hours chattering at squirrels & the birds in the bath. We get the birds that migrate thru. Right now, there's a lull. We've already seen the robins go thru.

    D :)