Monday, September 24, 2012

Blue Jay and an Empty Feeder

Blue Jay and an Empty Feeder

I was enjoying a peaceful moment on my patio out back on one of the last delightful summer days when I heard a Blue Jay call out. It wasn’t unusual for the jays to visit our backyard. They would usually land on the feeder with such a thump from their hefty bodies that the other birds would almost be flung off their perches.

Because I was reading, it took me a while to realize that I was hearing a lot of Blue Jay calls, the raucous cry that sounds like a squeaky door. When I paid attention I could pinpoint the cries from tree to tree and follow the bird’s movements so I knew that it was close. I saw the leaves flutter in the surrounding trees as the jay moved about. It wasn’t mating season so I wondered if it was in distress. Usually when a bird seems frantic it is warning of a predator in the neighborhood. Was there a hawk around? I looked up but didn’t see any evidence of one.

Was it just being aggressive? Blue Jays are known to be territorial and will go after an intruder be it a bird, a squirrel, a cat, sometimes even a human. But that is mostly at nesting time.

When I went inside and happened to look out my kitchen window, I saw a jay practically wrapped around one of the bird feeders, which, I noticed, was empty. Could that have been the reason for its vocal outburst? Blue Jays eat such a variety of foods - nuts, fruits, seeds, insects, mice, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars – surely a lack of sunflowers seeds should not have caused such verbal outrage. But maybe it was so used to this particular source of a meal that it wanted to make its dissatisfaction plain.

I don’t claim to understand nature nor have I observed it sufficiently to make any confident conclusions about what I see. I occasionally note consistencies so it is sometimes tempting to come to a conclusion but then I am often surprised. This applies to people, too. Motives, desire, necessity, instinct affect us all and make even the most usual unpredictable at times.

In this case, I just went out and filled the feeders. Several jays came around later and partook of the bounty. Perhaps one of them was the bird I had heard earlier, perhaps not. My desire is to provide seed for the birds who find their way to the feeders, at least most of the time. I guess the Blue Jay’s desire is to eat it.

Listen to the Blue Jay – and other birds:

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