Empty Nest (SWF)
In this week's backyard news, the orioles have disappeared. As I was getting ready to leave for an appointment one morning last week, I saw the blue jay in the lower branches of the orioles' beech tree. The blue jay nonchalantly jumped from branch to branch, higher and closer to the nest. So clever! So Calculating! I did not witness the fight, but I'm sure it wasn't a long one. And now the nest is empty.
The nest, expertly woven, is still up there, hanging so beautifully and securely from the branches the orioles chose. But the parents are gone. And though I can't see into the nest, I'm certain the eggs are gone as well--breakfast for one hungry blue jay. Eggs and nestlings of other bird species are an important part of a blue jay's diet according to Audubon. It was his opinion that while this may seem to be a distasteful behavior to us, it is helpful in keeping the songbirds from over-populating.
The statement on the University of Pennsylvania's website contradicts this, however. Apparently their researchers feel that the blue jays' raiding the nests of other birds is actually a contributing factor to the decline of the songbird population in recent years.
In any case, I am frustrated. This makes the third nest in our yard that the jays have raided this spring. I don't think there is anything I can do. Perhaps this agressive behavior also stems from them building their nest across the yard and not feeling too neighborly. Incidentally, blue jays are quite tolerant of other blue jay pairs in their territory. That may explain why I have so many.
Hmm, trying to think of the positive...
They are beautiful birds with those stunning azure feathers, white throats and black necklaces. And they are apparently good parents, even to the point of annihilating the competition. Tune in tomorrow for pics of the mother jay feeding one of her nestlings. Ah well, if I can't beat 'em, I might as well enjoy 'em. :)
Blue jay sentinal (aka "Dad") in tulip poplar tree.