God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest. ~J.G. Holland, American novelist and poet
Recently, I heard a raucous jabbering outside my window and naturally, I had to take a peek.
Some people would claim that’s procrastination, that I was merely postponing the writing of my novel.
I know better: it’s an innate curiosity about the world around me, something every writer needs.
Anyway, I didn’t see much except a splotch on the grass.
Which didn’t appear to be moving.
So what was making all the noise?
I wandered outside, and this is what I found (but I’ve got to warn you, it’s pretty disgusting!!):
Did you see it? It was a dead baby bird.
Maybe it fell out of its nest too soon. Or maybe a cat got it.
My heart broke a little at its de-feathered condition, but I opted to leave it where it lay.
I couldn’t do anything for it, and I nearly retched at the thought of touching it.
I went back inside, and once again, I heard loud squawking (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I tried to spell ‘squawking’ here!)
This time, I saw this:
A blue jay, hunkering in the limbs of a dogwood tree.
Right over the spot where the dead baby bird was.
Okay, I thought, maybe it’s the jay’s baby, and he’s expressing frustration over its untimely death.
Maybe he’s warning other birds about a stray cat.
I watched from the window, curious how this would play out.
Suddenly, the jay swooped down toward the baby and proceeded to eat it!
I kid you not:
Certain my eyes had deceived me, I ran to my computer to Google ‘blue jays.’
And I learned jays typically eat insects and nuts. However, they have been known to eat eggs and nestlings of other birds.
And you can see he was quite intent on his feast.
Couldn’t have enjoyed it more if he’d whipped out a bib and napkin — and perhaps some lighted candles and dining music.
By the time he finished, I presumed he’d picked the carcass clean (no, I didn’t check!)
Eventually, I returned to my writing, convinced that jays might be pretty colored birds but I’ll stick with robins, doves, and cardinals.
Who knew Nature was so bird-eat-bird?
OMG Debbie…barbaric cannibals indeed! I had no blue jays did that. And I thought the same thing, for such a pretty bird, who knew?!? Looks are deceiving, hu?
But I have to say, you made me laugh out loud when I read this…
“Couldn’t have enjoyed it more if he’d whipped out a bib and napkin — and perhaps some lighted candles and dining music.”
What a great post! I felt like I was reading (and seeing photos) from a National Geographic special on, “The Evilness in Blue Jays.”
And this made me laugh as well…”Who knew Nature was so bird-eat-bird?”
Have a great rest of your week, my friend. X
P.S. Hope your novel is going well!
Glad you enjoyed it, Ron! This came as a complete surprise (and not a pleasant one) for me, too. I’ve long thought blue jays were pretty birds, but now that I’ve been watching them more closely, that opinion has changed.
They’re loud bullies who run roughshod over the rest of the critters in my yard. And this cannibalism was the last straw! Guess my mom was right when she told us kids, ‘Pretty is as pretty does.’
I had a great break with Domer, and now it’s back to work. Happy Wednesday! xx
I felt the same way when one summer a red squirrel ate the baby wrens in my bird nesting box. Haven’t looked at squirrels the same way since.
Oh, dear. Nature can be cruel, can’t she? I’ve never seen a squirrel eat a baby bird, but I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised. I can see where you’d find them somewhat disgusting now!
The laws of nature are pretty clear. Weak, sick, dead get eaten by something. Thanks for the nature tour (I think)
John, I know (logically) that you’re right — weak, sick, and dead get eaten. But oh my, how I wish I could save them all!!
Yes we all do I think. 😁
There are more birds than you might imagine who go after nestlings, Debbie — and some have unique ways of preparing their dinners! I’ll spare you the details, but it’s the way of the world. One of the hardest things to watch around here is the loss of ducklings. They get pulled down into the water and eaten by fish, or get plucked from the surface of the water by seagulls. Welcome to the food chain! It’s why every park around here has signs to keep pets on a leash. That cute little doggie looks like an appetizer to an alligator.
I’ll grant you it’s no fun to watch, but it’s also interesting to see how nature manages to keep things in balance.
I can accept the cruelty of Nature, but I really don’t like it! Many of us here feed the birds, so it seems especially wicked of them to eat babies when there’s perfectly good seed, fruit, bread, and so forth just waiting for their taking. That’s why I could see him in my mind dining by candlelight — I think they’re just spoiled by acting all needy so we’ll feed them, then scarfing up something they must view as a delicacy.
As for the gators, I know they can dine on small dogs or cats. That’s why I always kept Dallas away from the Gulf waters (though he was probably a bit too large even for the gators!)
Hahaha! Nature really is horrible sometimes! Mind you, there’s something to be said for “waste not, want not”… 😉
I guess somebody had to remind me of that saying! But gee, when free food is readily available at nearly every bird feeder in the county, you’d think he wouldn’t have to resort to this!
Now i remember why I’m not a fan of blue jays. I knew they attacked other birds, but I didn’t realize they ate their own too.
Thank you, Ann. I probably shouldn’t have watched since it made me so ill, but I had to see what he was up to. I wonder if he’d have attacked me, had I picked up the dead one with a shovel and carted it off?
You know, he might have! They are one of the bolder birds, from what I’ve heard.
Yes, jays and grackles are both big bullies!
Debbie, my image of bluejays has been crushed! We don’t see many here, so it’s always a pick-me-up to spot one. Oh dear! Speaking of deer, I still cringe from the memory of a small dead “bambi” fawn curled up by our deck a month ago. She looked like she was asleep, but no, somehow during the night she passed. My brother buried her out in the woods. At least the vultures didn’t get her, but I was SO SAD. But Mr. Blue Jay actually makes me a little mad….
Thanks for visiting, Virginia. I was sickened by the whole thing. Something just wrong about eating wee ones — and that poor little Bambi. Oh golly, that brings tears to my eyes.
Oooh yuck. I will never see blue jays in the same light again.
Me, too, Pat! I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.