23 June 2014

[liff] The Scrub Jays Of McMinnville

There is a bit of property down in McMinnville that we are obliged to maintain, for reasons which are not germane to the following discussion. Suffice to say that we have to do a couple of very hard jobs down that way at least once a year. Money is expended, Gatorade is consumed. It's typically hot work, though this iteration, while it happened on the official first day of summer, happened during weather that was fine yet temperate – occasional clouds, some overcast holding off the heat of the day 'til the mid-afternoon. Best for landscaping a tough job.

Over the past several years, we've had bird visitation. Typically after the long grass gets cut down and before the creatures who exist on the dirt surface had a chance to get underground, the jays came.

California Scrub Jays, they call them. Here's a handsome fellow scouting the just-cut grass for nommage:

We've noticed that they happen each time. It's not a visit unless we see some jays, really. They're like friends, in a way. This time, we had a few moments to look and observe … and we saw some family behavior there that was quite delightful.

A couple of jays were visible at most times in the sweetgum maple that exists at the front of the property. At first we thought it was simply a mom and dad bird protecting the nest.

But it became evident when we saw the fluffy down on some bird butts that what we probably had was at least two adolescent fledgelings taking some first flights. There was at least one adult that seemed to be keeping tabs on the kids, who perched on the wires and yelled at us to get out of their yard.

I always wondered about birds and wires. They take to them so naturally. I always thought that birds like this had a cosmology, and just as some of us monkeys think that since the Universe made us possible that the Universe evolved for us, I figured birds knew that us humans existed so that wires would develop for their perching.

But we figure we have occupants on the place that take care of it for us, at least, in that birdy way. 

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