Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Back yard visitors

A pair of western scrub-jays hang out in our yard. We call them Mr. and Mrs. Boink. They appear have caches of hazelnuts from our trees. They enjoy our seed feeders and the flooded flowerpot that serves as a bird bath, and in the past few weeks they've spent an awful lot of time darting in and out of a thick hedge in our yard. We hope that means that they are setting up to have baby Boinks. Here's a picture of Mrs. (or Mr.) Boink: Other birds come and go, chiefly black-capped chickadees and juncos. There's a flicker or a towhee from time to time, white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows, Anna's hummingbirds, robins and roving flocks of bushtits or house sparrows. Today the Boinks had new visitors: a pair of Steller's jays. That got the scrub jays' attention. For a few minutes the two sets of jays hopped around each other. The Steller's Jays looked very fluffy of feather, as if they were trying to seem big. Eventually the scrub-jays started flying at the Steller's Jays. Three or four skirmishes, and the Steller's Jays flew across the street. One of the Boinks sat on the power line yelling after them. Later on, the chitter of a flock of chickadees and juncos turned to alarm calls, and found another new bird sitting on my fence. It's a young sharp-shinned hawk, a predator of small birds. The boinks weren't around when it settled on the fence, and it didn't stay long. I wonder if I'll see it again.

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