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Sat May 25, 2019, 11:01 AM

Love to Hate Blue Jays

From https://www.audubon.org/magazine/september-october-2008/slings-and-arrows-why-birders-love

Love to Hate Blue Jays
They’re smart, spectacular, and vocally versatile, so is the species really so bad?

By Les Line
September-October 2008

Photo: Jason Holley

A classic cinema moment: Gregory Peck, in his Academy Award–winning role as lawyer Atticus Finch in a Depression-worn Alabama town, kills a rabid dog stumbling down a dusty street. At supper that night, his children ask how old he was when he got his first gun.

“Thirteen or fourteen,” he answers. “I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted—if I could hit ’em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Mockingbirds, Peck-Finch explains, “don’t eat people’s gardens. Don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.”

“I’ve been there,” said Curtis Adkisson, a retired Virginia Tech biology professor, when I read him this discourse from Hollywood’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Adkisson became a huge admirer of blue jays when, in 1980, he and his colleagues investigated the species’ role—an essential one, they discovered—in dispersing acorns and beechnuts from North American forests. “But when I was 10 or 11,” he told me, “I had a Benjamin pump-up pellet rifle, and my grandmother in Arkansas paid me a nickel for every blue jay I shot on her farm. I was on a mission, even shooting into nests in trees.”


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Reply Love to Hate Blue Jays (Original post)
sl8 May 2019 OP
First Speaker May 2019 #1
shraby May 2019 #2

Response to sl8 (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 11:24 AM

1. True story about blue jays--50 years ago this summer...

...we were spending the summer in CT, and had our cat--Mack--with us. Mack got a blue jay one day. And the rest of the summer, every single time he left the house, the other jays would scream, and dive bomb him, and generally make his life hell. They even dive bombed *us* sometimes--guilt by association. And sometimes, they screamed at the house when Mack was indoors, just to get his--and our--attention. The little bastards really hold a grudge...

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 12:57 PM

2. Do you know they mate for life? They also spend all summer with their offspring.

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