Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just Bluejays

Because shotgun deer season opened today and I didn't get a license for that season this year, I got to stay home on a Saturday for the first time in weeks. The house was in desperate need of a thorough cleaning, but before embarking on that adventure, I spent some time watching my bluejays. I know a lot of people don't like bluejays, but I enjoy them and their antics immensely. For all their boldness and the fact that they're one of the largest feeder birds in my backyard, my bluejays are quite shy around humans and I always feel fortunate to be able to capture some photos of them from the warmth and comfort of my dining room. So today's post is going to be a celebration of the bluejay.

Here's one of the sunflowers I grew in my garden last summer. I noticed that something had been eating the seeds, but didn't know till this morning that it was the bluejay.

It takes a little bit of effort for the bluejay to get these seeds. It looks like they've already eaten the most accessible seeds, I wonder if they will be able to get to those at the bottom center portion of the seed head?

I got a chance to wash some windows last week and while it was still warm I also put up my window feeders for the winter. Since it as so snowy and damp this morning, instead of going outside in my jammies to fill birdfeeders, I just opened the window and threw some peanuts in the tray. It didn't take the bluejays long to discover those peanuts! Obviously, some of these bluejays have been here before!

Looks like this guy has some tail feather issues.

Usually they fly away with the peanut, but sometimes they just fly over to the crabapple tree and open the peanut there. That also accounts for the huge number of peanut shells I have to rake up every spring from under this same crabapple tree.

This jay has snow on his beak--I wonder if that's from burying a peanut he picked up on a previous trip?

Sometimes they will try to fit two peanuts in their beak, but usually they fly away with just one.

Did you happen to notice on all of these pictures that their crest is down flat on their head? Does anyone know why that is? I'll have to watch my other feeders and see if they always keep their crest down while feeding.

Did I say "just bluejays?" Well, I lied.......during a break in the bluejay feeding frenzy, Mr. Downy Woodpecker got a chance to stop by and try to grab a peanut also.

And lastly, for your viewing pleasure, here's a little video I shot this morning too. Enjoy........


Beth said...

What fun watching the blue jays! Much more fun than cleaning house. Your snow is rain for us and I cleaned house in the gloomy light of a rainy day and there were no birdies at my feeders.

Debbie said...

Ruthie, I also like Blue Jays although they can get a bit greedy. Your pictures are wonderful.

Mary said...

Ruthie, you made my night! I LOVE BLUE JAYS and wish I will have them here one day. They are loud and funny and will also scare cats away from the feeders (I know this because my Mom's cat suffered a few attacks).

Perhaps the flat crest is feeding nerves? I'll bet the crest is up when they are hollering from the highest point in a tree and feeling brave...

I'll try your video tomorrow.

Great post :o)


KGMom said...

Blue jays are noisy and bossy, but they sure are pretty.
I first saw the peanut wreath on your blog (I think) which you had for bluejays.
I got one for our squirrels. Filled with peanuts, the wreath keeps the squirrels occupied for 2 or 3 days, so they leave the bird seed alone.

LauraHinNJ said...

Bluejays are my favs, too. So brassy and beautiful.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Beth,
Rain slows down the bird activity at my feeders too. We had the rain on Wednesday & Thursday. If I had a choice this time of year, I'd take snow!

Hi Debbie,
Greedy for sure! I use a small cottage cheese container as my peanut "scoop" and they can eat a whole scoopful within 30 minutes! I've counted at least 7 different bluejays out there at one time.

Hi Mary,
I knew you would like these bluejay photos. Once they get a little braver and get used to seeing Penny at the window, they'll fly right down to that tray. She stalks them and then attacks the window, then I laugh at her and she gets embarassed and goes to sleep in the chair. ;-)
You're right--when they're in the tree announcing peanuts have arrived, the crest is very pointy.

Hi Donna,
I'm glad you got one of those peanut wreaths too. If it works to keep squirrels out of your birdfeeders, than it's definitely worth the cost of filling it with peanuts.

Thanks Laura. It's fun to see them this time of year, they kind of do their own thing all summer and I don't get to see them too often.

Jayne said...

The jays can be so loud, but I love them just the same too. :c)

Ruth said...

I would love to see Bluejays at my feeders. They visit about twice a year and are way less of a nuisance than starlings and house sparrows. Great pictures. Why do houses always need cleaning!?

Chicken Mama said...

Houses and bluejays . . . .

Why is it that the house is no longer clean the SECOND someone walks through it or sits down in that room?!!

I love bluejays, too, so I put up with their piggy-ness. (And I figure our goodwill and seed expenses might "balance out" our seasonal friends who SHOOT each one they see in the summertime!)

I've NEVER thought of peanuts for them (and the squirrels), though! I can't wait to try it! I wonder if the feed stores would have them in bulk . . . ?

Also, is anyone else having Internet problems yesterday and today? Ours is slow as molasses in January!

Happy Winter from Northeastern MN!

Richard said... made me look. Crests down when eating most of the time unless another Jay is there.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What is not to like about Blue Jays?? I think they are wonderful bird. I like to watch them pick up peanuts, shake them then put it back and pick up another. Like they are weighing each one to see which is heavier or maybe they soudn full. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what they are thinking.?? I am amazed that they come so close to your house. Our BJ's are too skittish to do that.

Heather said...

Great pictures Ruthie! The jays never actually come to our feeders, just holler in the general vicinity of our woods. I watched one today (with the binoculars) eating an acorn, and I also noticed the flattened crest during feeding. I adored the kitty video - I love hearing cats talk to the outside world.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I've noticed too the jays sure can scatter the other birds too, just by flying past the feeders on their way to the peanut tray.

Hi Ruth,
I used to only have a few bluejays, but their numbers have been slowly increasing since the West Nile Virus took so many several years ago.

Hi Chicken Mama,
Well the house looked pretty good after I was done, but it's always the kitchen that gets messiest first, isn't it?

When I worked at Wild Birds Unlimited, there were a plenty of customers who hated bluejays too. Some of them also talked about shooting them and I always reminded them that it was against the law because they're a native bird species. Keep treating yours good--I'm happy to hear you love them too.

Hi Richard,
Now that I started watching closer I noticed the same thing. Interesting birds for sure!

Hi Lisa,
I think bluejays get a bad name because they scare other birds away from the feeders. I don't think they're evil, but just big and loud and if I was a finch or chickadee, I'd get out of their way too!
Have you ever watched them bury a peanut in your lawn and then cover it up with a leaf? They're pretty entertaining with those peanuts.

Thanks Heather. As you can tell, my bluejays are pretty spoiled. They like whole kernel corn too. I love being able to see them up close and so does Penny!

Anonymous said...

The little buggers are loud, but very pretty. They and cardinals really put a splash of color into winter.

Mary C said...

I love your blue jays, Ruthie. I'll trade you a few scrub jays for a couple of blue jays! I love how Penny makes that noise. I love it when our cats and kittens do it, too. And I love that little downy. I didn't realize that they enjoy peanuts, too. I think I'll have to try putting some in our pole feeder. My problem with it in the past is that the crows always came by and took off with the peanuts.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Scienceguy,
Yeah, I love the bright colors of the jays and cardinals against the Minnesota winter white too.

Hi Mary,
I accept your offer of scrub jays! Can you throw in a couple acorn woodpeckers too???
My crows love the peanuts too, but aren't brave enough to venture that close to the house. I give them food scraps at a tray feeder just for them out in the yard.

Red said...

I like the blue jays :) I like all jays and jay-type birds... they're clever. I think the peanut was too big for the downey, in fact, it's nickname should be peanut.

Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
I've never seen Bluejays. Your pictures show such beautiful birds!