When I went out to set up for the garage sale this morning, I was startled by the sight of two jays harrying a crow.
Though we’ve begun watching birds since we moved into this house, we really know very little about bird behavior. We were under the impression that crows and jays were allies, but perhaps “allies” means something different in the context of ornithology than it does in international political relations.
I stopped to watch the action.
The crow was attempting to attack something, or take something, or do something in the cedar tree. He would fly into the thick of it only to be set upon by a flock of jays. At first I hypothesized that there was a nest of some sort, in the tree, but now I’m not sure. Do jays nest in cedars? Near houses? Do crows attack jay nests? I want to speak with Jenn’s parents; they’d know.
The crow would stay in the cedar as long as possible. The jays — six? seven? more? — would set upon it, darting in and out, fluttering their wings, chirping harshly. The crow squawked. In fact, its squawks almost sounded like the quacking of a duck.
The battle raged for several minutes.
In the end, the crow was driven from the cedar to the holly, pursued by a particularly aggressive jay. The crow made one more attempt on the cedar, but then the aggressive jay dogged it into the trees across the street.
This birdfight raised a lot of questions.
Other recent bird stuff:
- Yesterday as we sat in the driveway at the garage sale, a small bird alighted in the hawthorne. For such a small bird, it had a big voice. I cannot remember its call or song now, but I do remember that the little bird had a long, straight beak and, perhaps, a white stripe upon its head. (It was difficult to see.)
- The rock doves keep visiting the feeder outside the kitchen window. The rock doves, though, are idiots. They can’t figure it out. They strut across the top of the feeder, their massive bodies causing the whole post to sway, and they peer down the side at the food below them. They can’t figure out how to get it. They’ll spend ten or twenty minutes at this before giving up and moving on. Occasionally, one of the rock doves (they travel in pairs) will chance upon the correct approach to the food and get a nice snack, but this happens only rarely.
- The finches have discovered the new feeder out front. They stop for snacks. They’re a little wary, though, because it’s just a few feet too close to the house.
- We hung a hummingbird feeder in the mimosa tree, but haven’t had any visitors. We did have a hummingbird visit a couple of weeks ago, but it was drawn to a plant in Kris’ garden. We both happened to be right there, so we watched it for a couple of minutes. Kris was especially close, but the hummingbird didn’t seem to care; it was, after all, much faster than Kris.
If only we could harness bird power to perform yard work.