Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bluejay Hoppers



A subtle shift of leaves in the garden is a sound that puts me on alert. We have snakes, and they are welcome, but I can't say I enjoy the encounters as much as my husband and niece do.

Yesterday, there were leaves moving, but thankfully no snake. It was this little guy instead. He's just under the azalea next to my porch.


Here my daughter holds back the shrub for me (notice her beautifully manicured prom nails) so I can take the pic.


We have had lots of bluejays in the garden this year after many years with just a few. There seem to be fewer bluebirds in the years there are more jays, but I don't know if there's an actual correlation.



This baby looks so cute with its crest raised. I thought a raised crest had something to do with male/female, or maybe age of the bird, but I found out that it is associated with aggression level. If it is down, the bird is usually calm and feeding or tending the nest or babies.

Baby Jay's sibling was close by, too, and her crest wasn't raised (even though we stuck the phone camera in her space, too). Sibling birds, like sibling children seem to have different responses to the same situations!


A few interesting facts about Bluejays:

•Bluejays' love of acorns helped spread oak trees far and wide since the last ice age when the range for oak was reduced and pushed south. They can carry as many as 5 acorns at a time in their throats and beaks. I know they are fairly large backyard birds, but wow!, acorns are big seeds!


•Some bluejays migrate, but not all! It is still a scientific mystery why that is so.

•Bluejays have a large vocabulary and can immitate both cats and hawks. They may do this to alert other birds of the dangers of those animals, or they may do it to intimidate and shoo away other birds.

If they can just make it through their perilous adolescence, these birds can live 17 years. Blue-feathered birds seem especially suited to flight, don't they—as if they're made of the very stuff they fly in.

~*~

Reference: http://www.allaboutbirds.org