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Bluebirds of happiness

September 28, 2017

Ever since the first time I saw one in British Columbia, I’ve loved Steller’s jays. No doubt the fact that cobalt blue is my absolute favourite colour played some role in my falling for them.

As previously mentioned, it was disappointing that I so seldom used to see them on my property and very exciting when not one but three turned up suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Since the woman in the shop where I buy my bird food tipped me off about how much these birds love unshelled peanuts, I’ve started to see at least a dozen of them every day.

As I said, I always thought they were beautiful. What I didn’t know was what clowns they are.

Many, many years ago, there was a time when anyone I knew could walk up to me, hand me a pill, say “take this” and I wouldn’t even bother to ask what it was until after I swallowed it. During that time I moved into a flat with some friends. Two of us had set a Saturday aside for painting the kitchen. On that same Saturday another friend dropped by who had recently been indulging himself with opium. He brought some with him. We didn’t smoke it. Instead he rolled some up into small balls the size of peas which we swallowed. It seemed like a tiny amount. What we weren’t factoring into the equation was the fact that our visitor was a large bloke who’d been at it for a while, whilst my friend and I (and another female friend who was also visiting) were much smaller women who’d never previously had any contact with opium. Our peas swallowed, the two of us went back to painting the kitchen. Roller up, roller down, roller up and then suddenly not only did the roller come down but so did our ability to lift the roller again. Suddenly we needed to lie down. So the three females headed into the bedroom that had not just a double bed, but also a not particularly comfortable rocking chair. For the next while (I’m guessing two hours, but it might have been six) we stayed in that room: two women stretched out on the bed whilst the third sat in the rocking chair until she absolutely had to get on the bed. At that point, the person on the front of the bed moved to the rocking chair, the person on the back of the bed moved forward and the third person stretched out on the back of the bed. Repeat ad nauseam. (And, yes, there was also some nausea, along with Mick Jagger’s green eye shadow.)

Why on earth am I telling this story so many decades later? Because the other day, while I was sitting on the deck watching the jays, they reminded me of that day.

Two of them would be having a go at the suet while a third perched on the roof, peering down at them. Eventually the third would get tired of waiting and would dive in. One would fly off, circle round and land on the same spot on the roof and peer at the two now feeding – until he’d had enough and dived in.

I tried twice to get a picture of the proceedings.

Completely missed the one on the roof with this photo.

09-22 jays 1

And the second guy at the feeder took off just as I snapped this.

09-22 jays 2

You’ll have to trust me. It was hilarious to watch.

Also hilarious is the fact that they will start tapping on the skylights in the morning if they are tired of waiting for me to put out their peanuts.

They’re also bloody gannets. A block of suet that lasted almost a fortnight when only the woodpeckers and the wee birds were feeding, doesn’t even last a week now.

Yesterday, whilst buying more suet, I thanked the woman in the shop for the tip about peanuts. She told me that when she was a kid and went camping with her family, the jays would actually take peanuts out of their hands. How fantastic is that!

So of course when I got home I had to see if I could tempt them closer. Maybe not my hand, but what if I put a couple of peanuts on the table in front of me while I had a cuppa and read my book? One guy did figure it out, flew around in frustration, landing on the roof of the house, the roof of the generator and eventually as close as he could get on the drying line, staring at the peanuts and cawing at me reproachfully. Decided eventually to see what would happen if I came indoors. Sure enough, within seconds he’d grabbed one of the peanuts off the table and a second jay had swooped in to get the other one.

What a shame the jays didn’t turn up earlier in the summer. What a shame I didn’t know about the lure of peanuts before. Soon the weather will drive me indoors and I won’t be able to enjoy the bird show while eating my breakfast on the deck. Now, of course, I want a sun room so I can watch them year round. Oh, ha, bloody ha. As if that’s going to happen.

Oh, my god! As I don’t have a pic of one of my jays with a peanut, just did a google search to grab one.

jay peanut

On the same page I found that photo, I found this one.

jay feeder

How cool is that? A slinky feeder! I want one.

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2 Comments
  1. krysross permalink

    interesting story about the three females

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