Blue Jays, are they mean?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Blue Jays, are they mean?

    I don't know where to ask this...there is no category for animals.

    My boyfriend and I have a large bird feeder outside on our balcony. It attracts a lot of birds, such as swallows, robins, cardinals, morning doves, and lately blue jays. There is one blue jay who is very submissive and comes by usually in the morning (I am a teacher, so I have the summers off, so I home during the summers). The blue jay who comes in the morning, just sort of comes by, waits his turn and then eats when there is room. In the afternoon there are two or three blue jays that come by and literally raid the feeder. They basically kick out any birds that are there. Between the morning and the afternoon all the birds are fine together, swallows and morning doves get a long perfectly fine and don't bother each other, and when an occasional cardinal comes by, they all seem to get a long. But when these darn blue jays come by it's like all h*ll breaks loose!

    They fly in there so fast and pretty much knock any bird that is on the feeder off. I know I shouldn't be concerned but this happens EVERYDAY at the same time! I find it odd that in the morning there is that one blue jay who is fine and actually patient and sweet. Is there anything I can do? Probably not...it's nature. I just hate to see the other birds get bullied.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Yes, bluejays are mean.  They ransack other birds' nests and take them over.  They kill the babies or damage the eggs in the process, and when the robin parents come home they've been evicted (they tend to prefer robins' nests).  And, they are very aggressive in general.  But, we get them at our feeder and don't do anything about it.  The stuff they like is also what the pretty cardinals and gross beaks enjoy so what can ya do.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    My God, I didn't know they were that bad, just thought they were bullies.

    So frustrating. It's bad enough when the squirrels harass the birds, now the blue jays. It's a shame, because I love looking at them.

    Kargiver, are gross beaks swallows?

    We have some cute swallows I will admit. There is one who is so fat he can't fit on the feeder so his friend brings him seed, it's the cutest thing you have ever seen. I have pictures of it on my camera, I will upload them and put them on here.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Yeah, but that's how they're designed so it's nature in action.  Who can explain it?

    Gross beaks are bigger than swallows, but smaller than jays.  They have different colors.  We have a red throated one that's black and white everywhere else.  And, a brown-headed one with a black body.  Swallows are PIGS!  They must eat twice their weight in food a day, it seems!

    We had squirrels who were getting on top of the feeder, knocking off the top, and eating from the top up side down.  Our neighbor, or so I hear, shot them.  I guess he really did; I haven't seen them around.  I can't advocate shooting them, but we are going through much less seed, now!

    I'll be watching for your photos, Peonie!
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Oh yes, grosbeaks...just looked them up on the Cornell University ornithology page. My boyfriend and I bird watch at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, I should have known what you were talking about!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Grosbeaks?  Oops - spelling was never my forte!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from movingtangent. Show movingtangent's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Blue Jays are not just a whole lot bigger than the songbirds, but are related to crows.  Yes, they'll kill another bird.  A pretty crow, but still mean.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Okay, I have to jump in here.  Jays come to my feeder, along with chickadees and titmice and the other birds already mentioned. I get a kick out of them.  Perhaps they do raid nests, but talking from my experience of watching them at the feeder, over more years than I care to count, they don't bother the other birds feeding there.  Granted, the smaller ones know enough to move when a big bird comes, but they do the same for the pair of cardinals when they show up.  The main job of the bluejay, in my neighborhood anyway, is to warn the other birds of "danger".  I just went to the window a few minutes ago because one was yelling his head off - I couldn't help laughing - it was as tho he was yelling, "Cat Cat", because my cat had jumped up into an open window looking out into the yard!

    It's all in what you perceive, I guess.  Read a story to the kids many years ago about different animals and birds, and the bluejay was portrayed in that as the "lookout".  That's the way I still see him.

    And while I'm posting, anyone who feels they have to shoot a squirrel should instead look into a squirrel proof feeder.  I have one, it's metal, they can't chew it, and the bar is made so that when anything heavier than 2-3 sparrows land on it, the feeder part drops down, covering the seed.  No danger to the birds in any way, they soon learn that if too many of them at once land on it, it closes, and the larger birds stand on the side and eat.  Squirrels can't do this.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from whatawagSBNy. Show whatawagSBNy's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

        Jays are territorial and defend what they see as their food supply.  I would not say mean. 
         Kind of like wolves, they are bigger and smarter than most of their competition  in their territory, who eat foods from similar sources.  They have a social order within their kind, like pack behavior in wolves,  and will cooperate to act against others. 
         I guess it appears like bullying,  but if you put out stuff smaller birds do not eat much of, they leave them alone.  Their main competition near us is squirrels, raccoons and bears.  They would die off if they could not chase them off.
         If you have a second feeder you can stock it mostly with acorns, squash or pumpkin seeds, some cheerios, a small supply of apple cores cut in half.  Like their cousins crows, they will carry off the bigger stuff to store  in trees, which gets them away from the tiny seed and tiny birds.   They will lord it over that feeder and not bother the smaller birds, or so said my grandfather, who favored little finches, warblers and other songbirds.
         He was pretty successful through the years at training family to not eat convenience prepped squash, and to make pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkins - all so he could wash off the guts and save pumpkin and squash seeds.  Once washed and dried, they keep for months.  Mix in a little recently popped popcorn, a few seasonal berries, and their trips to carry them off pretty much cleared the yard of jays.  Just fly in fill up their pouches fast with big stuff, and fly off.
        He had squirrel vs. jay wars that were a hoot to watch.
        Once when he was sick for a long while and staying with far off family, we decided beech  nuts  would do as well.  In days we had bears warring with raccoons, and figured why he had always pitched beech nuts out of his yard.

         I've never studied birds, just  liked to hang out with  my grandfather.  I wonder how much of his info from observation would or would not be confirmed by people who really, scientifically study birds. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Sounds like someone I would have liked to have known.  A kindred spirit.

    "They have a social order within their kind, like pack behavior in wolves,  and will cooperate to act against others." 

    On a different thread I had posted about the jays and crows acting together to chase off a hawk that had landed in my walnut tree.  The jays dive bombed at the head and wings of the hawk, even diving right in front of him where he could have torn them apart with his beak, had he chosen.  It wasn't long before he'd had enough and took off with the jays and crows close behind - you could hear their raucous squawking far into the woods as they chased him out of their territory.  Interesting birds, I think.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from whatawagSBNy. Show whatawagSBNy's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

         I know kestrels (sparrow hawks) which are falcons, and eagles, will eat Jays.  We have low 3 ft blueberry bushes and marsh plums, and they swoop down and carry off Jays by themselves from these open areas.  So  what you say makes sense, that a group would work together to harrass a lone bird of prey  into changing it's hunting grounds, though I have never seen it. 

         Jays chased off a stray seagull on the Ammonoosuc near us last week .  When I started looking at the source of the noise, the gull was cleaning up after big weasels (in NH they call them fisher cats) that had been cracking open fresh water mussels  on big flat rocks  and pulling eels from a pile of rocks in very shallow water.  Soon as the gull was gone, jays and small corn crows took over clean up duty.

         So much rain this year, the wild blueberries were weeks late, and corn is just coming in, a full month late.  Hungry little crows, I never saw them mingle with Jays before.  Small, only about 8 inches, but definitely crows.  I was glad I left the dogs home and was alone in the johnboat.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Interesting posts, whatawagSBNy.  I enjoyed reading them.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from TarheelChief. Show TarheelChief's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Most ornithologists know how Blue Jays were trained during WW II to attack German gun emplacements.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from jenniebabe. Show jenniebabe's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    Ha ha ha
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from huangbrave. Show huangbrave's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    This story begins with Once Upon A Time, because the best stories do, of course.
        
    So, Once Upon A Time, and imagine if you can, a steep sided valley cluttered with giant, spiky green pine trees and thick, green grass that reaches to the top of your socks so that when you run, you have to bring your knees up high, like running through water. Wildflowers spread their sweet heady perfume along the gentle breezes and bees hum musically to themselves as they cheerily collect flower pollen.
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    People are very happy here and they work hard, keeping their houses spick and span and their children's faces clean.
        
    This particular summer had been very hot and dry, making the lean farm dogs sleepy and still. Farmers whistled lazily to themselves and would stand and stare into the distance, trying to remember what it was that they were supposed to be doing. By two o'clock in the afternoon, the town would be in a haze of slumber, with grandmas nodding off over their knitting and farmers snoozing in the haystacks. It was very, very hot.    
    No matter how hot the day, however, the children would always play in the gentle, rolling meadows. With wide brimmed hats and skin slippery with sun block, they chittered and chattered like sparrows, as they frolicked in their favourite spot.
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    Now, their favourite spot is very important to this story because in this particular spot is a large, long, scaly rock that looks amazingly similar to a sleeping dragon.
         The children knew it was a dragon.
         The grown ups knew it was a dragon.
         The dogs and cats and birds knew it was a dragon.
         But nobody was scared because it never, ever moved.
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    The boys and girls would clamber all over it, poking sticks at it and hanging wet gumboots on its ears but it didn't mind in the least. The men folk would sometimes chop firewood on its zigzagged tail because it was just the right height and the Ladies Weaving Group often spun sheep fleece on its spikes.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from sarabelle1985. Show sarabelle1985's posts

    Re: Blue Jays, are they mean?

    I think they're pretty but they do seem a little aggresive and pushy at the feeder and the birdbath.  Sometimes they remind me of people I've worked with. lol. :)

     

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