Sunday, October 14, 2012

Robbers, bullies or watchers?

Every morning I place fresh seed into a tube feeder and on the railing outside my deck doors. And every morning I'm rewarded with groups of birds visiting to enjoy breakfast.

This fall, when it becomes light enough, the quiet that occurs with living in the country is torn apart by raucous cries. Blue jays have spotted the seeds and let the bird world know the buffet is ready.

In late spring and all summer, if I'm late getting out - 4 a.m. sometimes being a bit tough to arise if I was late the night before, the jays will rouse me. They shriek their annoyance that the feeders aren't out yet. As soon as they see the dogs out the door they know somehow I'll follow shortly. Delighted they land in the trees and bushes. I'm often surprised they don't dive bomb me they are so eager. But they also land and chase the smaller birds into the bushes to wait until they are through their feast.

Now that it's fall they gorge themselves. I'm told they hide their seed to recover it later. So off to the internet I go to prove this after watching several blue jays poke seeds into holes made by woodpeckers in several of the surrounding trees. The website states in its page on bird intelligence that corvids - the species group to which blue jays belong - are among the smartest in the bird world and can indeed return exactly to the spots where they hide their booty.

So I took the following video of a gourmand blue jay, wondering where in the world he was going to hide all the seed he/she? managed to put in its gullet?
What do you think after all this? A secret cache in some hollowed out tree nearby? Three blue jays make this a regular stop. They'll be well fed this winter I suppose.But are they bullies, robbers, just careful watchers? What do you think?

And much later - these little guys showed up - I thought they were young house finches - but in checking in my Sibley's Guide - they appear to be young purple finches - look at the stripe on their heads - but I could be wrong... please let me know if you can identify them better than I. So much activity on the deck so early. Good thing I have enough coffee to keep up with it! Hope you have an great early morning every day!


  1. Wonderful post, I love to watch the jays. Your Purple Finches are beautiful. Great photos, Barbara!

    1. Eileen it's always a pleasure when you stop by to say hello - thanks for that. I love the jays as well, they are jesters most of the time... thanks for your compliments - and I hope others visit you in Maryland by clicking on your name above - they will be a delighted as I am I'm sure from your two wonderful blogs.