Redwood lookout
Wednesday September 26th 2012, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Three days ago, the male scrub jay was raiding suet constantly, flying to his mate, and feeding her often and conspicuously, owning the porch to the yard to that part of the trees. All others must fear the stabby beaks–even the squirrels.

It has been clear that the Cooper’s hawk too of late has been making clear announcements of his territory, as raptors do around equinox and solstice; I haven’t seen him much, and his mate not at all anymore, but the sudden long disappearances of all other birds have been frequent the last week or so.

It was startling to have no jays yesterday morning. None. No sign. I could offer up any kind of food and it wasn’t taken, or at least not by them. I could actually have juncos and towhees come, unthreatened.

There was a sudden jet-scrambling flurry of finches–Coopernicus had been spotted, even if I couldn’t see him.

And then I watched something I’ve never seen before. He did a glide across the yard, as always, and then suddenly pulled straight upright in front of a tree thick with leaves: wings flared like a butterfly and standing vertical in the air, he feinted right, then left, then right again, trying to flush prey out.

While I wondered, how did he DO that?

Then he settled on a bare upper branch a moment and eyed the porch. And me just inside of it. Eh. No time for this, I need lunch, and he glided in a blink towards the redwood and was gone.

About two hours later a jay came back. A second hung far back but there it was, and when they left, they were fleeing to several backyards away rather than watching me for when they could make their move.

I knew the hawk had gotten a taste for jay. I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath for them.

5 Comments so far
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Wild Kingdom, front-row seats.

Comment by Channon 09.27.12 @ 7:10 am

You know, I live vicariously through you! Our exterminator told us we couldn’t feed the critters outside the garden window anymore because it brings rodents in the house and having the bird feeders 30 feet away from the house is too risky for walking in ice and snow with two prosthetic hips. So I look forward to reading about your feathered escapades!

Comment by Jody 09.27.12 @ 7:29 am

wow — I never thought about jays as bird food!

Comment by Bev 09.27.12 @ 8:37 am

Wow! What a show! When does it come out on Netflix?

Comment by Don Meyer 09.27.12 @ 9:38 am

I can see his eyes in your words. Cool!

Comment by twinsetellen 09.28.12 @ 4:51 pm

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