More blue

Today is the last day of my mini-vacation from work; tomorrow it’s back to the desk and the last few classes of the semester before finals. I haven’t accomplished a single thing in six days off and I’m sort of proud of that! Three and half more weeks of work and school and I’ll have the *real* vacation that I wait all year for. I like being off at this time of year, but find myself disappointed that there’s not more happening outside when I’m home to enjoy it.

One treat the last few days has been seeing the birds that are visiting the feeders. I’ve been refilling this wreath feeder with whole peanuts from the grocery store twice a week. The squirrels take a fair number of the peanuts, but I discovered that there’s also a small gang of blue jays that stop by throughout the day.

I love blue jays above all the other feeder birds, despite their bad reputation, I think because they are so clownish. The range of blues and violet in their feathers is wonderful to see when the sun hits them just so. Oh and do they love peanuts! Some of them will work a peanut loose and fly away with it, shell and all, to eat or hide elsewhere. The one in the larger photo was breaking the peanuts from their shells and filling up his mouth with three or four before flying away with them.

I looked through all of my bird books this evening for a poem to share with these pics and couldn’t find anything that was complimentary. Poets don’t seem to like blue jays. I finally found a poem by e.e. cummings online that I’ll close with. At least I think it’s complimentary; sort of hard to tell with cummings.

crazy jay blue)
demon laughshriek
ing at me
your scorn of easily

hatred of timid & loathing for(dull all
regular righteous

thief crook cynic (swimfloatdrifting
fragment of heaven)

raucous rogue &
vivid voltaire
you beautiful anarchist
(i salute thee

18 thoughts on “More blue”

  1. Where did you get that cool coiled feeder? That looks so neat!
    Geoff loves our blue jays, but I feel the need to remind him that they will eat eggs and baby birds, and that they are bullies.
    But they are beautiful.

  2. I’ve always thought jays were pretty.

    We once caught a pair of jays attacking a cat who had caught a squirrel. So while they may have a rep for being bullies, they’re also brave enough to take up for members of another species against a common enemy. I like that.

    Great bird feeder!

  3. Great find on the poem! What a splendid list of descriptors-raucous rogue and vivid voltaire. How apt. Your wreath feeder is a great find, too. I haven’t seen that one before and I’m wondering who would come if I hung that type of feeder from my balcony. I haven’t seen any jays here in the city. 🙂

  4. Most of our local birds are rather drab, so I suspect I would like blue jays despite their bad habits. I like the poem though I don’t always quite follow ee cummings

  5. Susan: The feeder is from Wild Birds Unlimited – might be able to use it also in the spring for nesting material.

    I disagree with you about the blue jays. They are brash and noisy, but I don’t think they are such bullies as most people think. And during the nesting season they get secretive and sing the sweetest songs to one another, if you’re lucky enough to hear them.

    Dave: Thanks – I’ve been using my car as sort of a *blind* to take pics of the birds at the feeder – really need to clean the windows!

    Bunnygirl: That kind of story makes me love them ever more! I remember a blue jay harassing a neighbors cat when I was a kid. The poor cat was just walking across the lawn, but the jay kept swooping down at it – very funny!

    Vicki: Maybe you can take a stab at explaining the poem? 😉

    The feeder is pretty neat, although it does make it a bit too easy for the birds to get at the peanuts. If you don’t have jays in the city, I’m sure the squirrels would like it!

  6. I like that feeder! How does it do with squirrels?

    I think the praise of the blue jay is real, but it is for the things that many birders dislike – the mimicry, bullying, robbing nests, mobbing, etc. It is not that those things are good in themselves so much as that they upset the expected normal order, which cummings himself is doing by making up words and ignoring grammatical conventions.

  7. Blue jays always make me smile. Like Bunnygirl, I have found them to intervene when there is danger. They will make a distinct, noisy racket when there is a cat near the feeder. (I am having a problem with one neighbourhood cat who is stalking my feeders!)

  8. Blue Jays in the city reduced our cat to a whimpering fool after being attacked by them in his own yard. The poor cat would venture outside when he thought it safe until the jays chased him back inside. They attacked his forehead many times, but I love the jays, their colors, and tenacity!

  9. e e cummings is my favorite poet. How nice to discover something by him that I hadn’t read and that totally suits the moment. We don’t have blue jays here but our Steller’s Jays are so much fun. Loud, raucous, greedy. You just have to laugh when you see them.

  10. John: The squirrels love this feeder. 😉 I need to rig up some sort of baffle for the pole. Thanks for your interpretation of the poem!

    Ruth: They make me smile too. I’ve learned the scolding calls of many birds and the squirrels the same way – because of cats roaming around in the neighborhood.

    Mary: I love to hear stories of birds fighting back!

    -llm: All jays seem to have lots of personality. I’ve never seen a Stellar’s Jay.

    LauraO: Yep – neat feeder – I bought some new ones this year because the others were so beat up.

    Lynne: Let us know how you like it.

    Some of his work is easier to follow, but I haven’t read much. I know Spanish poets much better than American ones.

    Madcap: Glad you do. Do you feed birds?

  11. I love blue jays too. They are also my favorite feeder bird and I never understand their bad press. I don’t judge birds by what they eat.

    We raised an orphan jay when I was very young and it mimiced us and could whistle a very popular song at the time.

    great poem.

  12. Love e. e. cummings — favorite poet ever! Love the blue jays and I do think the poem is complementary — or at least admiring in its criticism! 🙂 That is the COOLEST peanut feeder ever . . . I have to get one!

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