Blue Jays

I have a ton of Blue Jays in my neighborhood (a pine/live oak forest) and I never gave them much thought until recently. 

Today I watched from my back porch as two flew around the yard chasing each other.  Then, starting on the ground beneath a live oak they followed each other up the tree, branch to branch.  They went inside near the trunk, then hopped along each branch to the end only to start again at the next branch near the tree’s trunk.  One Jay stopped, the other continued and hopped around a nest at the top of the tree that has been there from previous seasons.  The Jay hopped around the nest, climbing higher, looking down, then climbing into the nest.  It finally flew to the hedge along the back of my yard.  The other stayed on it’s branch the whole time.  Within a couple minutes they flew off together. 

Jays have a collection of songs and calls.  I usually think of the original Scooby Doo cartoon when I hear them.  They’re deafening sometimes and tend to drown out the smaller songs of the other birds that share this forest. 

I enjoy watching them in the bird bath in my backyard.  I keep it filled with fresh water each day in hopes of eliminating mosquito eggs.  The Jays visit several times.  In the morning, they perch on the sides after I refresh it and take their drinks.  In the afternoon, I’ve noticed during the height of the heat, they visit the bird bath in groups; taking turns in the water, splashing around violently.  After the bath, each Jay perches on the tree’s branches above the bath to preen.  When I first saw this I went to the bath to check if there was still any water in it.  Surprisingly there was.  They splash a lot. 

I’ve come to like them.  Jays are very smart.  Take some time real soon and watch them in your yard.

For some great info on Blue Jays: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/id

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