Flirting Blue Jays?
By Noreen O’Brien, special correspondent to Marine Parts Express
Given that it’s been so quiet around here, it’s a mite odd that I’ve had a plethora of blue jays at the feeders. On the other hand, perhaps the abundance of these jays is the reason it’s been so quiet around here.
Blue jays, as we all know, can be a bit rambunctious. When they move in, usually with a raucous “jay, jay, jay,” the other, smaller birds tend to sit it out in the wings, as it were, particularly the diminutive red-breasted nuthatch. I can almost see their uncertainty as this nuthatch sits gripping a branch in a bough watching from a safe distance behind a veil of evergreen needles.
Some scientists suggest that the way birds scatter upon approach of the screaming jays is precisely what the jays are aiming for—ditto when they offer a most impressive mimicry of hawk calls. Get the riffraff out of the way and the jays have total and free access to the feeders.
Whatever the reasoning, as much as a jay can reason, the birds certainly are enthusiastic. I can’t help it—I love these guys. They act like a gang of unruly teens, loudly declaring their right to be wherever they are. Somehow, upon closer examination of the jays (and teens), there’s a vulnerability there. Walk by the window and startle a jay with only a shadow of movement and it will about jump out of its skin.
I’ve heard toodling—you know, that flute-like call that causes the bird to throw its body into the vocal as it bounces to expel the sound. And while I did spot a couple engaging in what I thought was bill sparring, later I watched as one jay touched the tip of the bill of another—was that a kiss? An offer of a morsel of food? A flirtatious move? Am I deep in wishful thinking?
Look! There it is again—one jay moved upward and another followed, perhaps a wing’s length away, forcing the first to move again, and the second followed. This has gone on to the tree’s top. Is there indeed some flirtation going on here—so early in February?
Whatever is going on out there, the jays are a great source of antics, entertainment and pleasure. And they are raging a ruckus again now. I must go do some behavior watching.
Just like the blue jays proclaiming they’re here, we at Marine Parts Express are here to help you! Call us at (877) 621-2628 for parts help.
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March 10, 2011 / Noreen O'Brien / 4
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