Raucous and Stripe
Meet my neighbours, Raucous (first and third pictures) and Stripe (second and fourth pictures). They seem to hang around together, though I don’t know whether they’re a couple (only other Blue Jays appear to be able to tell male and female jays apart). Raucous is noisy, curious, rambunctious and quite aggressive — she(?) will come right up to me while I’m refilling the feeder, or reading or eating lunch outside. She gets really annoyed when our dog Chelsea lies down under the feeder, squawking until she moves. In the top picture she’s looking right at the camera. By contrast, Stripe is quite aloof, staying at least twenty feet from me and the feeder when I’m outside, eating the seeds windblown from the feeder or dropped by the clumsy grackles. His markings make him look as if he is permanently scowling, but he’s very attentive, and loves peanuts — when there’s none left in the feeder, he’ll pick them out of the suet ball, and leave the rest of the suet for other birds.
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  1. Lis Riba says:

    Oh wow. What beautiful photos!

  2. SB says:

    Very nice on a Sunday morning to be introduced to these characters — thanks!

  3. Sherri says:

    Lovely blue jay pics! I’ve noticed that blue jays can be rather bold, whether it’s hustling food from people, or bothering other animals.

  4. Pat says:

    We have lost all our bluejays. We used to have many.Bluejays are of the genus CORVUS, and thus are highly susceptible to West Nile virus. I suspect that is what has wiped them out here in southwestern Wisconsin.you are lucky that you have yours. I love them.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks everyone. Pat, a friend in Montreal tells me they’ve disappeared there too. But I was told the jays are no more susceptible to West Nile than crows and ravens, and that the incidence of West Nile in all these species (while alarming in the risks it poses) is nevertheless negligible, and has had no noticeable impact on corvid populations. There must be another cause, perhaps similar to the one that has caused to house finch to spread quickly from its normal Western NA habitat across the continent, all in the last 20 years, and the complete disappearance of sparrows from London, even though air quality there has been improving for a century. No one knows why.

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