Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gray Jay - Bold and Brave

 On a gray day last week, I came upon this wet, hungry Gray Jay eating the leftovers of a carcass. I am guessing it is a rabbit.

 These scavengers are known to eat anything and are so intent on eating or collecting food for storage, they don't mind people. I approached this one very closely, but didn't stay long because it was drizzling.
I read about an unusual behaviour of the young of this species.  When the 2-5 eggs are hatched and the juveniles grow stronger, they will fight among themselves. Each one attempts to be the dominant child.  When one reigns superior, s/he drives the others off and remains to be with the parents for another year. It is often possible to see three Gray Jays together - two parents and one off-spring.
Gray Jay may hatch their young in early Spring (April), but I came across this juvenile Gray Jay in August of last year. All the reading in the world can't cover all the bases. Of course, I didn't know what this bird was when I found it! I thought this would be a good time to share the photo to provide a reference in case a juvenile just pops up any day.  The one constant is the shape and size. Coloring of juveniles always offers up an identification challenge.

This is a great time of the year to visit the woods in an attempt to see as many young as possible. I think of it as "study hall."

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