Humanity in Birds – B.J. story

Weather has been so gorgeous. Flowers are blooming and birds are around.  Every time when I step out of the door, I saw dozen birds taking off instantly. We were born with fear, so are the creatures. Even we care for them and buy good seeds to feed them, they are still afraid of us. 

Among all the wild birds come to our yard, Hummingbirds and Nuthatches (see pics from ‘Love for Birds’ post) are my favorite and they are also the two who are difficult to photograph.  Hummingbirds are constantly on the move and Nuthatches do not stand still for more than two seconds. Up to this point, I have not yet captured shots that I am completely thrilled about. But I have enough fun just watching them. 
As small as Hummingbirds, they are very aggressive and very territorial. If one  spots another one nearby, it will definitely try to chase it away or fight it off.  Even if he (I am using he for easy reference) has taken possession of the feeder, he is still hostile to other buddies. They for sure want to claim their no-fly zone with a Me Only scenario. Does this remind you of your childhood when your youngest sibling was obsessed with complete domination in the family? I think the insecurity of being small does that 🙂
I like Nuthatch because of their distinctive look and also their gracious manner. I have never seen them fighting over the feeder. They come, get a small bit and leave. They don’t dwell on the feeder like some of other birds do.  I also watched how they feed and protect their babies. I had a shot of mother feeding her baby, but not clear enough. I hope to capture that moment again.
House Finch is slightly larger than Nuthatch. There are two cool things about them, one is their beautiful voice and the other, the intimate companionship that they demonstrated. The male and female always travel together. Sometimes the male would come and check out the environment before he brings his woman over. They are surely love birds.
house finch (an old photo)
Grosbeck is a larger bird with hook-like beak. Male has black and orange color body with white spots. Female has strips on her head that does not enhance the look but to complicate it. They also often travel together, but they usually don’t enjoy their meals together on the feeder. I am not sure if husband eats first or the wife, but they seem eating alone. Every once a while, I would see an abusive husband wanting his woman to get off the feeder.

Some time last year one male came to our suet feeder and got stuck inside. He may be too hungry and had his big head going in too deep and he could not get out.  

Grosbeck, male

I was afraid to touch him, so I called my husband to come home lunch time. He knew exactly what to do, but it still took him a good 20-30 to rescue the poor bird. While I was waiting, I saw his woman waiting patiently for hours on a limb not too far away from us.  They are large and shy birds. On regular days, she would not stay as close. She managed to overcome her fever for sake of love.  For this reason, I start to see the beauty in her and like her more.
We have so many Stella Jays in our neighborhood. They are handsome looking birds, but they are very aggressive and noisy but they are outstanding when comes to team effort and spirit.  When they discover food, they would make calls to notify their buddies. If they spot people coming into their domain, they would also send out urgent calls to their family or friends. From what I read, Stella Jay makes 100 different 
Grosbeck, female
calls to send out different messages.  We have so far heard at least 10-12 different calls.

Three years ago, one baby Jay fell out of the nest. We heard loud and distressed sounding calls from at least half dozen Jays.  My husband went out and found a baby bird on the ground. He picked it up and brought it inside our house.  We fed the baby with over-cooked oatmeal and little suet to keep it warm, and we lodged it overnight in our house. Mom and Dad came to look for the baby next morning. They made desperate calls and flew around the box where we placed the baby on our deck. We helped the baby to jump to a tree behind our house where parents eventually hid the baby there for about a week till it learned to fly. We also filled up our feeders to assure that baby had enough food.
Hungry and scared when it was found (July 2, 2010)
To our pleasant surprise, the baby showed up the next morning by jumping up the stairs of our deck and hanging out on our deck for a while before it went back to its parents.  In that whole week, we heard so many different calls and almost learned to identify the calls. We came to know when the mother was training the baby to fly; We knew the mother was looking for the baby fanatically; We knew the baby was out somewhere nearby for its own adventure while parents were calling each other to look for it. 

About the end of the week, we both witnessed the baby flying from one tree to the other, and again and again.  We were so thrilled as you can imagine…..
This is how he was fed.
He came back to see us the next morning.
The baby could fly and it was gone. We felt the loss and sadness. We hoped that it would come back sometimes and B.J. did not disappoint us. We started to call him B.J. because he came back many times to visit us and he had become our baby.
Both my husband and I can tell which one is B. J. (baby jay) because he behaved very differently from other birds. He would come, look into the window and stick around for a while if he saw us. He was obviously not afraid of us. When he was around, he was always quiet and good-mannered and we could tell that he did not come for the seeds in the feeder. He came to see us.  One time I saw him standing on the railing outside the window. There was a chair on the deck blocking half of him from me, so I shifted a little bit to the left in order that I could see him better. Guess what? B.J. also shifted to his right so he could see me better. I won’t never forget that moment.

He is a handsome bird.

I have taken some shots throughout the year and the following picture was taken on July 10, 2011. That was when we last saw him.  He may have moved to other states and started his own family 🙂 He was once our baby and we will remember him forever.
B.J.’s last visit

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