Last Wednesday, the day after the election I made an observation at the feeder that got me thinking. I had just gotten home from work and was unwinding while sitting watching the birds at the feeder. There were Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Chick-a-dees, Titmouse, Doves, Woodpeckers, and Juncos all busy feeding. Suddenly they all scattered when they heard the high pitched scream of a hawk. I picked up my binoculars and followed the sound to see the hawk, but it wasn't a hawk at all. It was a Blue Jay that has learned to mimic the sound of a hawk and in doing so scares all the other birds away from the feeder.
I have seen this bird do this before and you have to marvel at his smarts. The Blue Jay jumps onto the platform feeder and begins to use his beak to shovel seed out onto the ground. Blue Jays have a hard time feeding from tube feeders because of their size, they much prefer to eat from the ground. The Blue Jay jumps to the top of the feeder pole and bounces up & down while making his JAY JAY JAY call. Soon a whole group of Blue Jays fly in and begin to feed. Meanwhile, the first Blue Jay chases away any other birds that try to land and eat. Not sure who made him boss but he makes sure his team is taken care of first.
The blue team monopolized the feeder until a Red Bellied Woodpecker flew onto the feeder and scared away the dominate Blue Jay, then the rest of the blue team scattered. The Woodpecker went about his business enjoying the suet and slowly the other birds returned. Starting with one red Cardinal then two more red Cardinals. Next, the Doves landed on the ground and began to eat, followed quickly by the Juncos. The thistle feeder was soon full of Goldfinches & Pine Siskins, again the sunflower feeder was full of Titmouse & Chick-a-dees. In my observation, the red team seemed much more inclusive and willing to work together. But then if you were on the blue team I guess you could say the same thing.
In their world Blue Team or Red Team, what does it really matter? They're all just trying to survive.
I enjoyed Monday off in honor of Veteran’s Day and decided to head to Plum Island for some birding. The weather was unbelievable for November, sunny & near 70! The island was busy, lots of people out enjoying the good weather and many birders too. I saw some new birds, a group of Surf Scoters, some Black Guillemots, a pair of American Coots and a Fox Sparrow.
In honor of Veterans Day, I want to thank Al B., Bill D., Douglas B., Jeremy N. and all the other men and women of our military for their service. For if it weren't for brave Americans like them to ensure our country’s freedoms I may not have been able to enjoy a beautiful day walking the trails of a bird sanctuary enjoying my freedom. Blue Team? Red Team? What's it really matter, we are all Americans just trying to survive.
Current Big Year Total...............235
Happy Birding, Jane