These Two!

My recent evenings are often spent in the back garden, feet propped up, camera and binoculars at the ready, unobtrusively watching for migrating songbirds as they visit the garden and pond before sundown.  It’s a quiet time of day, falling water and birdsong the primary serenades.  

At least, most of the time it’s quiet.  A few evenings ago, these two Blue JaysCyanocitta cristata, landed on the peanut feeder and couldn’t, or wouldn’t, co-feed in peace.  Rather than sharing the bounty, each snapped at one another, reaching around the feeder, sharp beaks aimed to intimidate, movements swinging the feeder.  Both birds were belligerent and possessive of the desired protein snack.

Eventually, the one on the left flopped to the ground and contented himself with peanut bits there.  The victor noshed a bit longer, then flew to a nearby branch, allowing the vanquished to visit the feeder once more, before flying off for the night.  

I typically have between 5 to 7 Blue Jays coming to the garden.  Though they all look alike to me, I know the number of individual Jays because in the mornings, I pour a cupful of unshelled peanuts into a different feeder which is attached to a privacy fence.  The Jays come from all over, alighting in the Oak tree and along the fence, so it’s a quick count of birds as each politely flies in for a nut, grabs the prize, then speeds off to enjoy in some distant tree, leaving the feeder free for the next hungry bird.   In the mornings, there’s no argument between birds.  Everyone plays nicely.

I guess like all of us, birds are refreshed and easy going in the morning, a bit grumpier by the end of the day.

I’m joining with Anna and Wednesday Vignette today.  Check out her lovely Flutter and Hum for garden stories.

29 thoughts on “These Two!

  1. OMG, Tina – that last sentence made me laugh… so very, very true! “I guess like all of us, birds are refreshed and easy going in the morning, a bit grumpier by the end of the day.” Thank you for the laugh!

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  2. I’ve only seen two jays at my feeders, but there’s been a lot of peanut grabbing and flying off to somewhere. I’m fairly certain in that indeterminate ‘somewhere’ there are babies, and eventually the numbers at the feeders will increase. Just yesterday, the pair of house finches that had mostly disappeared suddenly were back — with two young un’s in tow!

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    • I love it when they bring the kids to visit! My blue jays are so obnoxious, but so entertaining! This spring, I don’t have any Carolina Chickadees; I’ve heard them in the neighborhood, but not near me and none are visiting the feeders. I hope this is a blip, rather than a trend, but I don’t have much control over that.

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  3. Interesting that they are feeding in the evenings. That seems to stop here at about 5-6pm typically ie a good two hours before before sunset. Aggression can bubble up anytime things get busy, but especially between the finches.

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  4. I haven’t seen blue jays in a while (southeast Texas), but PLENTY of cardinals. Those guys have been all over the place, and I throw out seed each morning and evening for the critters. I’ll often see between 6 and 8 each time (when the dogs aren’t scaring them off). They love perching on my metal fenceposts that I just put up, searching the ground before they swoop down and get what they want. It’s funny to watch them flit between posts for the best vantage point.

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    • If you’re in southeast Texas (I’m from Corpus, btw!), do you see Green Jays? I think they’re so gorgeous. I only have one Cardinal couple who don’t nest in my garden, but visit regularly.

      Jays are simply fun to watch, but yes, they love to perch, survey the land, swoop in for the nosh!

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  5. A really nice pic of the bickering blue jays. I don’t have any coming to my newly erected feeder yet since I just put it back up after it had been retired for about 4 years. I stopped feeding because of the Cooper’s hawks and the rats that took up residence in some of my outdoor sheds. But I’ve missed the birds so I moved the feeders to my back yard and next to a privacy fence. (Front yard has lots of tall trees and heavy vegetation for nesting ) The birds are slowly finding the feeder and I will knock on wood, that so far the hawks are not snatching birds.

    Have you ever posted to Texas birds (not sure of the actual name) on FB. I think you’d like that site very much. I joined it and have been well entertained by some awesome bird photos.

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    • Thanks and give the birds some time. I’ve found when I’m out of town or for whatever reason I haven’t put out feed, it takes a few days for them to feel comfortable. Good luck, I sure hope the rats don’t show up.

      I just realized that I didn’t answer your question about the Birds of Texas FB group. Yes, I joined a couple of years ago, have never posted, but have learned so much from that group. There are some incredible photographers in that group!

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  6. I like the verb “co-feed,” which I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else.

    We had bluejays in our neighborhood on Long Island when I was growing up, so I remember how noisy they can be.

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  7. Fabulous picture! 5-7 Blue Jays is a lot of Blue Jays! I can’t imagine the racket, though I’d be happy to have them even so. We don’t see many Blue Jays since I stopped putting out peanuts in the shell.

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    • Thanks, Jason. I love Blue Jays: so cheeky, smart and they are loud at times. They’re quite something to watch and listen to when there’s a hawk or owl in a tree or a snake on the ground. Gives new meaning for ‘warning calls’!

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