Friday, July 22, 2011

Blue Jays, Beautiful Bullies




Blue Jays, Beautiful Bullies

On our property, resourceful Blue Jays are everywhere right now.  I hear their noisy screams of “jay-jay-jay” and their nasal-sounding “queedle- queedle” in the yard.  They fly from tree to tree; flashes of vivid blue crests with the black bills and black necklaces.

They are beautiful birds nearly 31 centimetres long, with white under-parts and striking electric-blue backs decorated with white bars and flecking on their wings, and white corners on their summer-sky-coloured tails.

In this yard, they are often in the company of Common Grackles.  Perhaps these two breeds are chasing each other; both types of birds are given to bullying behaviour.  Blue Jays will harass other birds and will steal eggs and nestlings.

The Blue Jays and Common Grackles spend time in our hedges, the tall bushy Siberian Elm at the back and the fledgling lilac hedge at the side.  They’re foraging for nuts, berries and insects.  The Jays’ vibrant blues and whites make them easy to spot amongst the bottle green foliage and on the emerald lawns.

The Blue Jays aggressively chase cats away from our yard.  The neighbourhood cats regularly range through, hiding in the long grass near the feeders, hoping for a feathered breakfast.  I chase the cats away too, protective of my chickadees and finches. The town by-law against having unleashed, nuisance cats running free is largely ignored, to my frustration and to the detriment of small birds here.

Perhaps the Blue Jays and I can keep the roaming cats from the feeders and the tinier birds.  Then who will keep the Blue Jays from attacking their nestlings and eggs?

NOTE:  You can link to another of my posts about Blue Jays by clicking here.
Photo is mine.

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