Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crafty Mr. Jay

A few days ago, the Hazelnut, in boredom while Miss Lizzie slept in the grass near her, shredded a toy all over the back yard.  This is not an uncommon occurrence, her toys have about the shelf life of the cheap McToys that come home with a 5-year-old.  At least she's not chewing the furniture or shredding the upholstery.

Anyway, the day after she did this i started my usual clean up of the yard method, which is to pick up a few pieces of whatever she has left lying around every time i go out to put clothes on the line or pull them in.  After a couple of days of this, i've usually gotten most of it.

In this case, i had barely started when i noticed the amount had been considerably reduced, and not by me.  At first, i thought that perhaps Miss Lizzie was picking up when she was out there.  Then, from inside as i washed dishes and looked out of the kitchen window, i saw a flapping of wings in the area of the most of the former toy carnage.

It was Mr. Sammy Blue Jay, and he landed near the pieces of the toy, some plastic, some fabric, and looked around.  He seemed skittish, but he finally picked up a couple of pieces that were to his liking, both a shredded plastic piece and a fabric one, and flew off over the back hedges of the neighbor's yard to disappear among the pines and oaks in back of the houses on the street behind us.

As i watched him go, i noticed two other birds.  A sparrow landed on the fence, and seemed to be hopping around rather excitedly.  The second was another bluejay, who promptly went over to the site and began picking up pieces of the toy.  He did not, however, fly away.  He would pick up one, put it down, look toward where the other jay had flown, and pick up another.  After repeating this performance a few times, he flew up to the electric wire above the area, and looked hard at the sparrow, which kept jumping around.

The second jay finally flew off, and the sparrow calmed, but didn't approach the bounty.  A few moments later, the first jay flew right back into the neighbor's yard, looked around, flew up over the fence, and again looked around.  Then he quickly picked up as much as his beak could hold and flew away over the hedges.  The sparrow had been hopping again while he was there, and stopped when he left.

The second jay came back, landed on the wire, and stared hard at the sparrow, who had a look that said, "I'm sober as a judge, don't look at me!"  He then flew down, picked up several pieces of the toy one at a time, putting each down after and looking around.  The sparrow began hopping again.  Then the jay went back to the wire, looked a bit more at the sparrow, which was again still, and flew off.

As if on cue, the first jay came back, again checking as if to make sure the coast was clear.  He got another load of booty and flew off.

It seems the first jay has used as much of that shredded toy, and it was a large toy of several parts put together, as he could, but didn't even then relinquish his claim to the rest.  The second jay was sneaking in to get a share, and the sparrow was simply enjoying the show this competition made.

That may not be what was in their brains, but i enjoyed the show, too.

Today is

Army Day -- Bulgaria

Beverage Day -- an internet holiday that encourages you to try a beverage you've never had before

Buddha Day -- Indonesia; Nepal; all Mahayana Buddhists

Childhood Stroke Awareness Day

Eyvind Kelve -- Norse Calendar (pagan martyr)

Full Flower Moon / Corn Planting Moon / Milk Moon
     Kasone Full Moon -- Myanmar
     Vesak Full Moon Poya -- Sri Lanka

Hidirellez  -- Turkey (arrival of spring and a religious holiday for the Alevi peoples)

International No Diet Day

International Wildlife Film Festival -- Missoula, Montana, US (through the week)

Joseph Brackett Day -- birth anniversary of Shaker author of the song "Simple Gifts"

Martyrs' Day -- Lebanon; Syria

Mothers' Day -- Lithuania

Motorcycle Mass and Blessing the Bikes Day -- Patterson, New Jersey, US

Mounikhia / Munichia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival of Artemis, date approximate)

National Crepe Suzette Day

National Infertility Survival Day -- US, Sunday before Mother's Day

National Nurses Day -- US, start of National Nurses Week

National Tourist Appreciation Day

No Homework Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays (celebrated on Monday if it falls on a weekend)

Shepherd's and Herdsman's Day -- Bulgaria

St. George's Day -- Eastern Orthodox Churches (the day to visit graves and decorate, leave special food, and provide entertainment for the dearly departed)

St. Gerard of Lunel's Day (Patron of epileptics and Montesanto, Italy; against epilepsy and headaches)

Store Bededag -- Denmark (General Prayer Day)

Visakha Puja -- Buddhist (Buddha Day)

World Laughter Day

Anniversaries Today:

Princess Margaret marries Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey (the first televised royal wedding), 1960

Birthdays Today:

George Clooney, 1961
Tom Bergeron, 1955
Tony Blair, 1953
Bob Seger, 1945
Willie Mays, 1931
Orson Welles, 1915
Stewart Granger, 1913
Rudolph Valentino, 1895
Gaston Leroux, 1868
Sigmund Freud, 1856
Robert E. Peary, 1856
Maximilian Robespierre, 1758

Today in History:

Spanish and German Imperial troops sack Rome, which many consider the end of the Renaissance, 1527
Mongol emperor Babur defeats the Afghans and Bengals, 1529
Henry VIII orders that English Bibles be placed in every church, 1536
Louis XIV of France moves his court to Versailles, 1682
The first African-American Masonic Lodge (African # 459) forms Prince Hall, Boston, 1787
John Deere produces the first steel plow, 1833
James Gordon Bennett, Sr. publishes the first issue of the New York Herald, 1835
The Glaciarium, the world's first mechanically frozen ice rink, opens, 1844
Dr John Gorrie patents a "refrigeration machine", 1851
Linus Yale patents the Yale lock, 1851
Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska, 1877
The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris, 1889
George V becomes King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII, 1910
George Herman "Babe" Ruth, of the Boston Red Sox, slams his first home run, against the New York Yankees, 1915
The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed, 1937
John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath, 1940
Bob Hope performs his first USO show, 1941
Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes, 1954
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiate at the opening of the Channel Tunnel, 1994
Chaiten Volcano erupts in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people, 2008


  1. Whatever those birds were doing I'm betting it was purely logical--if you were a bird. Parts of that toy were probably ending up in nests.

  2. Exactly, Stephen. And i think that's why one jay wanted to protect them from the other. No rival need take his building supplies, thank you very much!;)

  3. I guess a shredded toy got to be recycled for good use! I can see the goings on quite well with your characters!


  4. I love watching birds and their interactions with other birds.
    Sounds as though there is gonna be one super-spiffy birds nest somewhere in your neighbourhood.