Friday, June 09, 2006

The Eastern Blue Jay

The Eastern Blue Jay has long been one of my favorite perching birds. With bright blues, whites, and dark black decor, it is among the most beautiful members of the bird family.



Mischevious, and often marauding, the Blue Jay is a member of the crow family. I've seen them feed peacefully at the feeder, but I've also seen them wreak havoc in large clans, pouring upon the feeding station in a blur of blue wingbeats.

Extremely intelligent, Blue Jays often come up with creative ways of finding food, as seen in this blog entry from June 15th of 2005:

Just as I had rooted myself within the digital video world, a flash of blue caught my eye, and I turned my head to find what appeared to be keniving blue jay poised at the edge of the roof, peering down into a crack, pecking at some unknown substance.

Before long, pieces of yellowish debris were being flung off the roof by the marauding jay, so I darted across the hall to get my pair of binoculars.

When I returned, the scenario had barely altered itself, with the exception of a now angry insect zipping around the blue jay aggressively.

My human eyes need assistance! So I peered through my binoculars to watch closer.

There were now two angry hornets zipping around.

The blue jay stopped demolishing in intervals long enough to eye up one of the crazed hornets. Perhaps this is a clever technique that the local jays have discovered to rouse juicy hornets. Eyes blinking, the jay was constantly aware of the hornets wereabouts at all times.

Bravely, the suicidle insect went in for the kill, only to be quickly snapped up and literally WHIPPED through the air by the jay before it had time to sting. It layed, uneaten on the shingles, body paralyzed by the bill of his advasary. By this time, there were 3 hornets, and the second nearly gave the jays butt a good piercing as recognized by a quick fluttering about on the jays part.


With the second hornet in it's bill, the jay opted not to press his luck any further, and he flapped away to the density of a distant spruce, paying no attention to wasp number one.

I've even bared witness to these birds eating small sparrows (perhaps fledglings), and have even heard of them catching shrews and small mice!!

I will never look at this awesome bird the same way again. He's not quite as innocent as the robin, and not as ferocious as the hawk. The blue jay my friends, is somewhere in between delightful songbird, and skilled hunter.