Sunday, May 26, 2013

Blue Jay Adventures

Earl and I were sitting on the front porch when we saw a fledgling blue jay flop into the street. The parents screeched down urgently. Some other blue jay relatives flew down also screeching. A cardinal landed nearby and a robin added its trill too. All urging the baby blue jay to fly, to get out of the middle of the street.
As the birds flew back to the tree, the baby blue jay flopped around some more.
Earl pulled on his shoes.
"Don't go down there," I warned. "They'll dive bomb you."Nevertheless, he went down the 24 steps and tried to shoo the bird toward the curb. One of the blue jay parents attacked Earl's head.
This photo is from the FCPS website. 

He picked up a stick and waved it over his head to keep the birds away.
"Come help me," he called.
"No," I refused.
"Come on."
So I reluctantly joined him.
"You want to scoop up the bird or swing the stick?"
"I'm swinging the stick," I decided.
So without further incident, Earl cupped his hands and lifted the fuzzy gray and blue bird into the grass just past the curb.
We retreated to the porch and watched the bird hop around. The parents landed beside it, occasionally flying back up to overhead tree branches.
I examined Earl's head where the blue jay had attacked him. "Looks like he got you with his feet," I said. Two bloody scratches pierced his scalp. I dabbed at them with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.
I didn't think about the fallen blue jay again until about an hour later after Earl had gone to work. Suddenly, I heard the blue jays screeching and screeching in the backyard. I rushed back there and found our outdoor cat Tupi nudging the fledgling with his nose.
"Tupi!" I yelled, clapping my hands and running into the yard to grab the cat. I deposited him inside the door and called over to the neighbor for advice.
Tupi taking refuge in the house.
Sarah had been gardening all day. She had on a canvas hat and gloves. She didn't hesitate to come to the backyard and scoop the baby bird into a grocery bag then carry him to the neighbor's garden inside a high fence.
The blue jay parents, for some reason, did not notice their baby in the backyard or being transferred to the neighbor's garden.
After we deposited the baby in the garden, I let the cat out the front door, hoping he'd forget about the baby bird. He may have forgotten, but the blue jay parents did not. They were waiting by the front porch and immediately started to scream at the cat. He crouched in the dirt by the porch and they dive bombed him. He slunk around, trying to escape their notice, but within a few minutes he was back at the door wanting inside. His ears were flattened out on either side of his head in fear.
A few minutes later, he wanted out the back door. Again the blue jays found him and tortured him. He settled in the house, standing by the screen door and a blue jay alighted on the porch railing, scolding Tupi.I was starting to feel bad for him.
A few hours later, he was in the backyard and  he came running up to greet me and Grace. The other cat, also black, doesn't usually go out, but I let him loose to see if the blue jays could tell the difference. They couldn't. They flew over the yard, zooming down to intimidate the innocent cat who couldn't figure out why these sky predators were attacking him.
I don't know if the parents ever found the baby blue jay, but I do know that Tupi's summer is now ruined. Every time he goes outside, the birds follow him screeching.
I just hope they don't remember what Earl looks like next time he goes in the backyard.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

OMG...poor blue day baby and poor kitties too. Our cat was attacked by blue jays too years ago when we had indoor/outdoor cats -- now all are indoor only.

Sheila said...

That is hilarious!

The Tour Dream Falls Flat

As I write this blog post, the Tour de France is about to set off toward Carcassonne, and you might recognize that name as a place not too f...