Mornings with Blue Jays.
June 2nd, 2011
This morning I awoke to the stirrings and twitterings of Bubba and Gump. Boy, were they ready to take on the day. I took Gump, who was being awfully spunky, out of the cage and placed him on top. Last night they both spent some time up there with Bubba throwing down a little dance move that told me he wanted to try flying, but wasn’t quite sure where to go. At some point, they started making a raspy little chirping noise that I hadn’t heard before. It coincided with me sucking air through my teeth at the dog, but I’m not sure if the two are related.
This morning it was Gump’s turn. He crouched, stood up, crouched, fidgeted, and leapt! His first flight!
For all his flapping, he only half-made it to the blinds behind the cage and landed on the table instead. He was undeterred. His next adventure took him to the floor, where he sat for a little while, contemplating things. Bubba, still in the cage with the front off, pushed his face against the mesh to see his brother. He began getting fidgety, flapping around and using the raspy chirping call again. After several minutes of trying to force himself through the fine wire, he realized the front of the enclosure was open and, mildly unsure of himself, leapt out.
He made it to the floor and immediately began calling for his brother. Gump was behind the table so they couldn’t see each other, but through their little conversation, they managed to meet up. Both discovered the dog’s bed, which is decidedly easier to navigate than bamboo flooring, and spent the next hour hopping around and jabbing dog toys with their beaks. They explored, pecked, stretched, preened, and chirruped. Sunka watched dolefully from my bed as they rummaged through his goods.
At some point Bubba hopped towards Sunka, got a little too close for Sunka’s willpower, and the dog responded by leaping to the edge of bed, tail wagging and ready to play. This scared the hell out of Bubba who immediately made a haphazard flight back to safety. The two have had an interesting relationship for the last few days after Bubba got fed up with Sunka’s insistent sniffing and swiftly gave his nose a good couple of pecks. Sunka, shocked, gave Bubba a little silent snarl. Fortunately, my dog is submissive to chihuahuas with the right attitude, so I’m not worried about a couple of blue jay babies. They have enough piss and vinegar for a whole pack of mutts.
It’s incredible to watch the progress of these two. Baby birds have perhaps a month to learn the big important behaviors before truly exiting the nest, so things happen fast. Gump’s progress constantly surprises me. Bubba made it up to the arm of the sofa this morning, and Gump stood below, peering up at him. Several times Gump leapt off the dog’s bed, flapping and fluttering, trying to get to his brother. He never made it, but the point is that he kept trying.
They turn their little heads this way and that, gauging distance and ability. They extend their wings and rock their bodies trying to attain balance on my finger or their branch. They peck at each other and defend themselves, finding order. They fluff out to keep warm in a breeze and nap until their tiny manic brains decide it’s time to start exploring again. They shit, shit, and shit some more. They are little machines of programmed survival tactics and I feel fortunate to be playing a role in helping them make it.
Did I mention that they shit a lot?
Posted on June 3, 2011, in Fauna, Naturalist Notebook and tagged animals, aves, baby, baby birds, birds, blue jays, feeding, nature, orphan, raising, scrub jays, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.