Blue Jay Way

Last year, I noticed some furious activity outside my second-floor window. On the window sill, a nest was being constructed. It was interesting to see the progress, and after it was finished, it sat unused through the following months.

Sitting on the nest, keeping a watchful on me.

Then a few weeks ago, a family of doves moved in.  They seemed uncomfortable when they detected motion coming from my side of the window.  I noticed one of the two adults were always on the nest, so there must have been some eggs.

It was quite interesting to see then trade places, always keeping the nest covered, so I never got a clear look inside.  I was being a nosy neighbor.

This week I noticed a different kind of activity, and on closer view, there were two babies, and the doves were feeding them and keeping the nest covered.  Again, the adults seemed to trade off feeding/guard duty.

This morning, something caught my eye.  A large bird flew up to the window and then took off. I instantly knew it was not one of the doves, but it was so fast that I couldn’t tell what kind of bird it was.  I looked at the nest and did not see a dove, in fact, it looked like a very small bird cowering in the nest trying to be invisible.  This was the first view of the nest without an adult.

A few moments later, the large bird came back and landed on the sill and started poking toward the nest. I moved closer, scaring the bird who again flew away.  It was a blue jay.

Over the next hour, the blue jay came back multiple times, trying to get at the nest, being scared away each time, but each time the bird was more aggressive.

A co-worker came into my office and I told her about the assault on the nest.  I showed her at the window, and exactly at the same time, the blue jay swooped and grabbed what looked like a baby bird.  The nest was empty.  On the ground next to the building, in full view, the large blue jay had the baby pinned down and began tearing at the bird.

From the red shape under the blue jay and the rapid downward action of the beak, it was easy to know what was going on.  That was a chilling scene, but something that happens often in the animal kingdom.  That would be horrific for a child to see, and not much better as an adult.

It was just a bird. No big deal. But it was. I told several co-workers and it upset them. One minute, life has such beauty and fascination as you see it develop right before your eyes. The next minute, the savagery that is also life. What’s it all about, Alfie?

In a University of Kansas journal article, dated 1907, the author said the evidence from the stomach contents of blue jays studied did not align with field reports from observers about nest robbing activities.  More observations needed.  Thanks, one is enough for me.

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Later, a dove frantically for the babies.

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