November 21, 2009

Comical Corvids

We love these Scrub Jays around our house.

Always loved the ravens, too, until they started chasing away the other birds. Now, if they dare to glide by and I spot them, I throw sticks. "Get off of my property!"

They test me still! And they've discovered the weak height of said projectiles. So my arms flap, I hiss and yell. They see my useless defence, but give leeway as if to placate the crazy lady.

The ravens are used to cruising overhead when I'm not around, so we both were pretty surprised at a sudden flyover above the patio where I was watering.

Ravens, eyes wide at my surprise appearance, veered sideways, wings reaching for purchase, rushing away from my sight line, especially as I shoot the hose straight up at their presence.

We surprised each other, but I displayed dominance.

Gosh it's satisfying to be king of the sky!

Scrub jays, corvids as ravens are, live life daring, clever and obnoxious, but we've made peace with these blue and gray fluffy birds.

In the early morning, we sit, awaiting their appearance, while the jays sit silently and camoflaged in the fir. Then soft, silent swoops to the feeder, jittery hops, quick beaked stabs grab a peanut and with a nervous, defensive glance, the treats; 4 per day, disappear in a blink.

Sometimes swooping to a perch, they'll crunch, crunch, crunch at the shell, pulling out the nut and nipping away at the delicious feed. Peck, swallow, peck, shake, shake the crumbs and wipe sideways on the perch, to clean the beak. Or else a great effort is made to hide the loot. Storing up for the winter, I guess, they will hop around to find the best spot to bury and hide, pushing the nut deep into the ground, then covering with garden detritus. Of course with suspicious paranoid glances every which way. No robbers will be tolerated.

Surprisingly, they do find them again. I've seen dirty, moldy discarded shells announcing a discovery.

We know they're spying on us, more subtly than the ravens, because we'll wait and wait and they're no shows. Then, leaving the treats on the bench just for a moment, just to fill the birds' water, they're gone! Sneaky Petes!

Sunflowers seeds are a precious second if peanuts are not to be found, and this jay, clever guy he is, holds fast with long claws, to grab the best from a long, slow growing mammoth gray stipe, with bobbing head, jay hanging on tight to feed.

Then off to the endless search for more!

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