A visit from a blue jay

A blue jay stopped by today.  Did you know the pigment in their feathers is melanin?  Melanin is brown, but blue jays have modified cells on the surface barbs of their feathers, and light scattered through those cells makes the feathers blue.  It has something to do with structural coloration.  If a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears.

Although blue jays do migrate in large flocks along the Great Lakes, some stay for the winter.  The experts think they alternate years, migrating one year and then staying the next.  Because acorns are one of their favorite food, they are credited with spreading oak trees.  They are the Johnny Appleseed of oaks.

Blue jays are one of the first birds I remember from childhood.  Their color made them standouts, as did all the noise they would make outside my bedroom window in the early morning hours.

There were all sorts of visitors at the feeders today, fattening up as the snow falls, including a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  Unfortunately, I missed my shot at him.  I was outside watching as two geese slowly and carefully walked across the frozen surface of the pond, and didn’t see the woodpecker until just before he took off.  I think the geese were searching for open water.  They didn’t find any on or around the pond so they moved to the woods and the creek where the water is still flowing.

I found a good spot for bird watching, one where they don’t seem to be bothered by me (or notice me at all).  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but one of the best spots in the house for observing the birds is in the master bedroom.  The bush and tree where the birds like to hang out when they’re not at the feeders are right outside of that window.

Sitting for a long period of time isn’t easy.  Well, the sitting part isn’t so bad.  It’s the getting up after my legs and/or feet have fallen asleep.  Izzy (the cat) and I sat on the bedroom floor for about 45 minutes this morning, watching as the different birds flew in and out.  A big flock of starlings came along after a while and chased away the little birds.  That’s when I decided it was time to get up.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I found some red for you.  A little here…

… and a lot there…

I had difficulty getting a clear shot of Mr. Cardinal.  He was constantly in motion, on lookout while the Mrs. was busy eating at the feeder.

What would Valentine’s Day be without some love birds?  It’s true they are not real Lovebirds.  They are mourning doves who always come to the feeder as a couple rather than one at a time like Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal.

That’s it from the Bogs for today.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love:  the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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33 Comments on “A visit from a blue jay”

  1. Bo Mackison says:

    I love your birds. I can never seem to muster the patience to wait for any bird. I stop watching and they crowd onto the bird feeder. I creep back quietly and they all scatter. You did a great job!

  2. dadirri7 says:

    what a colourful array of visitors for us to enjoy! thank you robin 🙂

  3. Coming East says:

    Fantastic photos. You are amazing at photographing birds, Robin. I need to take my camera and go to the state park near our house and try to capture some myself, but I don’t think I could get as close to them as you seem to be able to do. You also have a great telephoto. Love the poem you chose.

  4. These are wonderful! The shots of the blue jay are nice and sharp, really showing off his blues! When my brother was a paperboy in our old neighborhood (almost 25 years ago), one of his customers actually had a pet blue jay. She had found it as a baby bird, and raised it in her home. I believe, at the time, it was over 20 years old!! This bird could even speak, it could say, “Cat cookie” (not sure where that came from). He bird-sat for her when she went on vacation once, and we went over there and recorded the bird screeching – then went back home and played the recording for our cats. BOY, did they go CRAZY!!!! 🙂

  5. Dana says:

    I love the photos of the blue jay! For some reason, it’s always the red (cardinals, robins), blue (jays, blue birds), and yellow birds (canaries) that get the most of my attention, even though other birds are just as beautiful and worthy. 🙂

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and M!

  6. Happy V-Day! And these are great photos too 🙂

  7. Hard to beat the beauty of blue jays and cardinals. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, as well, my friend!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  8. Anita Mac says:

    Love the Blue Jay photos – reminds me of growing up in the country! I see them so rarely now – only on visits to dads. Thanks for sharing – makes me feel like giving dad a quick call now!

  9. ceceliafutch says:

    Beautiful birds. Happy Valentine’s Day. 🙂

  10. This post is the perfect Valentine! And since blue is my bestest color, the blue jays are the icing! ♥

  11. What a wonderful variety of birds you have. I thoroughly enjoy looking at your photos of them all…their coloring is so varied and beautiful! And the cardinal…such a vibrant color of red…wow!
    And…uh oh…the only exercise I seem to get recently are your invigorating walks and hikes in the woods… …so no exercise for me today…. ; ) …does me good, however, to sit and develop a bit more patience.
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you….

  12. nigel says:

    Beautiful birds, nicely photographed.

  13. Sallyann says:

    Beautiful pictures … thanks. 🙂

  14. mimo says:

    what a beautiful series!

  15. aFrankAngle says:

    I enjoy watching the birds at the feeder – including observing the hierarchy. On the other hand, the winter-time flock of starlings aren’t an enjoyable moment – then again, they are doing what they have to do.

  16. Cmsmith says:

    Your bird photos are beautiful and inspire me to try harder.

  17. The blue jay is so handsome! And I love the sweet mourning doves feeding together…

  18. Elisa says:

    Beautiful shots, I really enjoyed them!

  19. Marianne says:

    It’s wonderful to see such close-up pics of the birds. They certainly are beautiful, Robin. Nice work!

  20. Libby says:

    What a wonderful series of photos. The Bue Jay is magnificent, I don’t think I have ever seen one.

  21. Robin says:

    Thank you so much everyone. I’m glad you enjoyed the blue jay’s visit too. 🙂

  22. bearyweather says:

    Wow, your birds are well trained photo models! 😉
    I am looking forward to having some free time soon to see if mine will cooperate for a few seeds. Thanks for sharing your bluejay.

  23. Karma says:

    I really enjoyed the bird shots! Thanks for sharing.

  24. […] it happens, I was reading this blog post of Robin’s, and that reminded me that I hadn’t been over to Bob’s site for a few days, where I […]

  25. jane tims says:

    Hi Robin. At work we have a row of oak trees and every fall, bunches of oak leaves and acorns start appearing on the ground. I wondered who or what was doing this until I watched one day. The bluejays were working away at the tree, dislodging bunches of oak leaves and flinging them on the ground! Jane

  26. I don’t have a long enough lens to get close enough before these guys usually fly away. Nice capture. I’m jealous. 🙂

  27. and unfortunately there are no cardinals in this area. My favorite bird!


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