With spring finally here, the outdoors is sounding a bit more colorful. The cardinals and robins are starting to stake out their positions in the yard, and everybody is waiting for the blue jays to arrive. The jays tend stomp on everyone’s claims, the vikings of the avian world.
A funny story about jays from a few years ago. We have a yard light on the shop, and in the summer, that light attracts hawk moths. They are a beautiful, humming bird sized moth, that come out in the late afternoon and pollinate the Four O’clock flowers that we have growing out of the old outhouse foundation.
I came out one morning and found one of these moths fluttering upside down, under the light. They quite often do this after a heavy night of pollinating. I picked it up, and walked back to the house to show the wife. We oohed and awed over it and I noticed the moth seemed to want to fly away. OK, so I opened my hand and let it go. It flew off my hand, got some altitude and started heading toward the garden. Just as it looked like a perfect ending to a happy story, a blue jay swooped out the the tree line, snatched this jewel out of the sky, and headed off for breakfast. It was quite a mouthful, but I think I could see him smiling. Mother Nature quite often has some very sharp teeth.
From young on, I have been an avid student of nature. I grew up in the upper Midwest and we had a wide selection of wildlife to keep things interesting. It helped to have a biology teacher, Rollie Johnson, to keep me on the right track and push me forward. However, what science gives, it quite often takes. Mr Johnson clued us in to the whole birds and bees thing. Our eager young minds drank it in, and we quickly came to find out that what we thought was going on, wasn’t necessarily so. Those beautiful bird songs, as an example. We hear them and smile, unless it is some jay yapping it up. What is really going on is something like “I’m here! This is me! All you see is Mine!! That babe over there is MINE TOO! Hey! YOU looking’ at ME? Yah, you. You want a piece of THIS???” and so on. Innocence lost with knowledge gained. They still sound nice though, ‘cept maybe those jays.