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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 30, 2016 9:11 AM CST
So Saturday I was on the deck and there was a lot of fuss from the blue jays in the tree that overhangs it. After a while, I heard a "thunk," and there was a fluffy little baby blue jay just three feet from me. He looked around at me and then started hopping in the opposite direction. His parents were still in the tree above me, making soft little "whip, whip" noises to direct him and encourage him.

He hopped and fluttered his way across the lawn to the wire cattle fence on the side, which is backed up by a wooden picket fence that separates my yard from the neighbors. The gap is filled with dead leaves and bamboo poles. He hopped and popped all the way to the middle rung of the picket fence, then rested for a while.

Later, he hopped (or fell) from the rung and went instead to a dead tree limb sticking up from the brush pile. It was not high enough to be safe, but that was where he decided he was too exhausted to go any farther and started to fall asleep, although his parents tried to warn him. I went over to try and wake him and scold him, too, but he just stared at me, his eyelids heavy, and nodded off again. Completely fearless in the way that only the very innocent are.

While I was trying to coax him back awake, suddenly I heard his parents screaming a few feet away. Spicy had come out to sun herself under the cattle panels. She didn't see the baby, and wasn't in a hunting mood--it was HOT. But the parents were in a panic. I went and brought Spicy inside to spare them the stress. The baby still hadn't moved when I came back--he was just too tired.

It hit me then that the parents had never screamed at me, although I'd actually run inside to get witnesses and a phone, and followed from a few feet away, cooing and squealing at him while videotaping his journey across the lawn, and stood only a foot from him from behind the wire fencing where he was now, crooning baby talk at him and calling everyone to see.

No one else bothered him (I was worried about the neighbor's dog and cat). That afternoon, near sunset, the little one woke up and started off again, and with the help of the brush pile and nearby tree limbs, eventually hopped and popped and fluttered his way to the top of the neighbor's shed right next to the dividing fence. My daughter and I cheered him on, and his parents did, too. We were so proud!

But we wondered: where were his brothers and sisters? Well, Sunday I was out on the deck again, and heard the blue jays making the same kind of fuss--this time on the opposite side of the deck, in a tree with azaleas beneath it. I looked, but didn't venture over. I couldn't see any babies. But when Spicy came out to the deck, they started screaming and I knew they must have one over there somewhere.

One of the parents came and perched on a tree limb a few feet above and in front of me and proceeded to tell me off directly. The message was clear: "Get. Your cat. Out of of here. NOW!" But I didn't. Spicy didn't seem to be in the mood to go after anything, and I told myself I'd make sure she didn't go over there.

Fast forward a few minutes to a terrible cacophony of shrieking and dive-bombing blue jays, and Spicy shot away from the azaleas and around the side of the house to the front. The blue jays gave chase. While they were at it, I finally went over to the azaleas and there they were: two little balls of fluff in the branches of the azaleas.

Spicy is now thoroughly intimidated by blue jays (at almost four years old, this is her first summer with free reign of the yard, so she's had to learn some lessons the hard way) and they've been lording it over her all yesterday and today, terrorizing her by swooping low and shrieking at her whenever she doesn't expect it. She hunches her shoulders and quickly slinks or runs for cover. Just now she came to me for protection, lol (I'm out on the deck right now).

I'm just glad the blue jay babies will be safe from my mighty mouse-catcher and groundhog-chaser so long as those parents have anything to say about it--and they have PLENTY to say.
[Last edited by lovesblooms - May 30, 2016 9:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
May 30, 2016 10:06 AM CST
LOL. What a fun story. Thank you for sharing.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 30, 2016 10:18 AM CST
I LOVE blue jays, and my daughter does, too. They're so smart, crafty, and gorgeous!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 30, 2016 10:39 AM CST
Cute story! Around here, we don't have any jays, but the cats learn to fear the mockingbirds, even when no babies are present.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Plumerias Hummingbirder Dog Lover
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gingin
May 30, 2016 6:15 PM CST
LOL...reminded me of when I raised Naked...yes a bluejay. He barely had pin feathers when I got him from a friend. Naked took over my screen room. Was perfect for him...he was safe, but could see the world and learn. The first few times I had to go 30 miles (one way) to get Master Naked crickets I had to have a neighbor bird sit since he was being fed every 15-20 minutes. Such crazy fun. Even bought a small grill since Naked loved perching on the big grill...was terrified I'd end up with little grilled birdie feet. To this day there is still Naked poop on my antique brass eagle attached to the wall/side of the house. At the time all I had was webtv so a "friend" in California made Naked his very own website at geocities with pictures (film camera) and text I sent to her. I can only imagine what some folks ended up with when doing a search for Naked without including the story of a bluejay. *Blush* *Blush* Whistling Rolling on the floor laughing
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
May 30, 2016 8:43 PM CST
My daughter was fascinated by your story, GinGin--she's seven. I explained the naming convention, and the only question remaining in her mind is why he liked to perch on the grill.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
May 31, 2016 6:42 AM CST
How cute, GinGin!

Lovesblooms, that's a great question. Hilarious!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
May 31, 2016 7:54 AM CST
Oh, and MY question: how did you raise him? Last summer a baby sparrow and his siblings fell out of their nest, and only the one survived the fall. We didn't know what to do, really, but we kept him in a warm spot and tried to feed him tiny bits of mushy kitten food, but he died after a few days. We called him Feathers; he didn't have any. Eyes still sealed shut.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Plumerias Hummingbirder Dog Lover
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gingin
May 31, 2016 3:06 PM CST
Not sure just why he liked the grill, but he did...perhaps because from there he could see the whole room Shrug! The day I brought Naked home I called a local rehabber for advice....she said to give him mushy puppy chow mixed with mushy mixed veggies. In the screen room is a wrought iron table and chairs. I covered the table with newspapers and put pieces of wood (branches that had broken off trees) out for him to perch on. It was also where I put the food and water. At first I had to use an eye dropper for water and a toothpick for putting food in Naked's mouth. As he got older I added the crickets. After I got home with them I always felt a little bad since they sang to me all the way....anyhoo....I would go to the freezer, say God bless it's for a good cause and put the bag of crickets in....easier to feed frozen Blinking Naked loved to chew on my lip especially right after eating a cricket so that act was refered to as giving "cricket kisses" Lovey dubby Beer thirty was always fun with Naked. I had a schlep dress I wore that had open lace work in the front....Naked enjoyed dropping sunflower seeds in the holes as well as caching seeds in my ears. I would picture the trip to the ER...."Yes, Dr. that IS a sunflower seed lodged in my ear...no I did NOT put it there, my baby bluejay did." Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing In case you haven't guessed, Naked and I had a lot of fun Lovey dubby Lovey dubby From the screen room he could watch me doing whatever in the kitchen...and you'd better believe he let me know when it was HIS time to eat or be paid attention to. When he was old enough, the screen was removed from over the doors and Naked could come and go at will. He spent a lot of time on his own during the day, but usually came back at night to roost. The neighbors told me how he liked to strut over their picnic table at meal time helping himself to whatever caught his fancy nodding I miss Naked, but I have no doubt that some of the bluejays in my yard are kin to him. I'll have to try and scan a picture of him to post...wish I could link to his web page, but I do believe it is long gone.
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.

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