Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jays and their Ways

I spread a bag of upscale trail mix on the edge of my deck railing last night.  Came in the food box, so cost me nothing, and was full of whole almonds and cashews and large chunks of dried fruit, as well as the usual raisins and peanuts and sunflower seeds.

This morning a young Stellar jay came along and tried a few bits.  The cashews he couldn't handle, but he loved the raisins and peanuts and even managed to hork down a hazelnut, after trying desperately for a few seconds, with his neck extended.  Shortly thereafter, there were two velvety blue birds with black frills on their heads, hopping about on my deck.  Then three, and the two young ones were very wary of the older one with the ragged edge to his topknot, diving off the rail if he even looked beadily in their direction.  Now they were just landing, grabbing a mouthful and flying away.  Soon there were five blue and black jaybirds, all eating and transporting these expensive treats as fast as they could.  This went on without a pause for about twenty minutes.  I was imagining the cramps some of them were going to have, and the diarrhea, if that can be said to apply to birds. 

I was also imagining the large size these birds were going to attain – it would be the talk of the bird-watching community – North Milwaukie birds sudden growth spurt!  -- when suddenly – as suddenly as the first one had appeared – they stopped.  Completely.  Half the contents of the bag are still there, but the jays have stopped.  Not the slightest movement in the branches of the cedar tree, which were bobbing and swaying a minute ago, with high speed arrivals and departures.  Not a jay in sight.  Only a squirrel, sitting in the leafless maple tree, and looking beadily at my deck railing.