Friday, October 17, 2008

Return of the Jays

After last weekend's abruptly heavy snow, I was dismayed to learn that the western scrub jays that provide so much backyard entertainment had vanished. Their dish of peanuts was buried beneath a mound of white on the patio table, but even after the snow melted, they failed to return. I dug out the dish as soon as it was partly visible, and once the table had dried I spread out the soggy nuts so they would be visible as well as be able to dry themselves.

Still, there were no visitors for days. Until this afternoon, that is, when once again I heard argumentative screeches and calls from the backyard. The jays have returned, with a vengeance.

Quickly I added another handful of nuts to the dish, and waited for the first brave bird. I was not to wait long, and at least two jays participated in quickly emptying the dish. As I returned with the camera to snap a few pictures, one of them was boldly caching a nut in the grass just a few feet away, and his next morsel went into the flowerbed mulch. Before the snow we had at least five jays vigorously arguing over the nuts I put out each morning, and not all of them seem to have braved the cooler temperatures to visit the feeder. Still, I'm pleased to have them back and as long as they continue to perch on the rain gutter above the door where I refill the feeder, I'll happily add more peanuts to the dish.

These jays feed from a dish. What feeders do you use? Share your choices in the October poll!

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