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Young Birds and Their Agitated Parents!

June 14, 2014

I had a crazy day last Sunday!

I visited my mother’s house as I often do- and there were 2 separate dramas happening, one in the front yard, another in the backyard.

Out front, we noticed a pair of Robins acting somewhat agitated.  So I stepped out front, and sure enough, there was the reason…as always, I had my camera handy.

0614-2 (46)An adult Robin keeps an eye upon…

0614-2 (24)…a young Robin not long out of the nest

The young Robin sat still in the grass, which was fine, except for one big reason…there are cats in the neighborhood, and they hang out around my mother’s house (she has been known to give them some food).  So, even though there was all sorts of vegetation in the yard to hide in, there were also cats.  So I tried to shoo the little bird into the next yard- the house there is temporarily vacant, and its fenced-in backyard is relatively safe, because the cats don’t hang out there.

0614-2 (25)Come on, little one- let’s go!

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0614-2 (29)The young bird ended up in the side-garden

Unfortunately, a neighborhood cat was stalking the young Robin and I chased the cat away, realizing I needed to get the bird into a more protected area.  I like cats, by the way, but I draw the line at them doing what comes natural to birds if I can help it.  The cats around here are not starving.

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Sorry fella, no dining on the birds please!

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I can’t quite get a hold of the bird, but it goes in the direction I want it to- towards the backyard next door.  This is progress, and the bird isn’t terrified, so good.

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OK. I get it onto the fence between my mother’s backyard and next door, where I want it to go.  I get close enough to the bird that it takes off into the vacant yard.  Success!

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The little Robin can fly better than I realized- it flew up onto the electrical line connecting next door’s house with the power lines out back along the fence.  I’m no longer worried about this bird, it can fly well enough to escape the cats.  Its parents are around the area, they’ve put up with me herding it along.

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It isn’t long before we hear more commotion in the backyard.  This time, it’s a pair of Blue Jays, and they are apparently swooping around clearing any remaining cats out of the backyard area.  Why?  I went to look once more…

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In a trash barrel in the backyard, a young Blue Jay has somehow fluttered in…and the parents were anxious!  It gave the occasional loud cheep.

0614-2 (18)A concerned parent

I reached in the trash can and the bird fluttered up to a nearby perch- it was wet from some water in the bottom of the trashcan (we dumped this out later).

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I didn’t want to spook the little Blue Jay, but I realized I had to get it out of the backyard.  The parents were keeping a good eye out for cats, but what about after dark?  I figured I needed to get it over the fence into the next backyard where the young Robin went.  No cats roamed around over there.

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This was the most agitated parent- it was flying all around, obviously concerned for its offspring.  The other parent was too, but it wasn’t as agitated as this one.  One thing I saw that was interesting- the more agitated parent went and landed next to the other parent and touched beaks with its mate, as if reassuring it.  It struck me as an emotional moment between the two.

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The little Blue Jay fluttered into some garden cover, and the agitated parent was hovering near to watch over it.  This was very attentive behavior.

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Here’s where it gets even crazier.  The Robin parents started swooping at the agitated Blue Jay!  Their young Robin was nearby, and I can only assume they were being protective of it against the Blue Jay.  The Blue Jay ignored them as well as it could, focusing on its young one.

0614-2 (45)

It was now or never.  I went and scooped up the little Blue Jay off the ground- it let out a mighty squawk as I turned to take it towards the neighbor’s backyard.  It would only take me maybe 15 seconds to get it there.

WHAM!  It felt like somebody punched me in back of the head!  I should have known that this was a possibility- but I didn’t have a hat to wear.  What had happened was that the agitated Blue Jay parent had flew right into the back of my head in a forceful manner and hammered me with its impressive bill.  It swooped at me twice more on my way to the backyard fence.

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Here’s the funny part.  The little Blue Jay got used to riding on my finger, and sat there looking at me.  ‘Please go into the neighbor’s backyard before your parents pull out my hair, little bird!’  It was not easy getting the above photo, either.

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Finally, it fluttered off my finger and landed on the tree trunk of the neighbor’s backyard tree.  It was safe, and so was I.  The Robins and Blue Jays above no longer thought I was a target at least.

0614-2 (10)Final image of the agitated Blue Jay checking up on its offspring

Days later, my mother said that she hadn’t seen any more of either little birds, so I assume all went well.  Oh, mother put some rubbing alcohol and antibacterial cream on a scratch that the Blue Jay gave me on my head.  Funny enough, she related a story from my stepfather’s dad, who had been attacked by a Blue Jay so fiercely that he had a little permanent bald spot where it had pecked him (I checked my head with alarm on my face after this story, but no bald spot!)  Don’t get on the bad side of these birds- if they went at the cats as fiercely as they went at me, I’m sure the cats gave them no problem at all!

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2014 6:50 pm

    What drama! A terrific story with great photos. Glad you helped keep those babies safe!

  2. June 14, 2014 7:57 pm

    Great ending Tracy! You turned it into a Father’s Day story.

  3. June 14, 2014 8:32 pm

    Tracy, your our hero! That’s what I call drama with a happy ending and sorry about your poor head ☺️!!

  4. June 14, 2014 9:45 pm

    Well, I’m glad that the story has a happy ending. 😉

    A few words of advise, don’t try to rescue goslings or cygnets, their parents really mean business when they’re protecting their young! 😉

  5. June 15, 2014 5:28 pm

    Cute story! Be glad your mother doesn’t have bears 😉

  6. June 15, 2014 6:33 pm

    A lovely picture of the young jay.

  7. June 17, 2014 6:25 am

    Well done! Those birds have a lot to thank you for! 🙂 And really great photos, you have captured all the action brilliantly! That baby robin is just so cute.

  8. June 22, 2014 6:31 pm

    Maybe the parents learned that not all humans mean harm by your example. I love the colors on that young robin!

  9. mary biscuso permalink
    June 23, 2014 3:11 pm

    I so miss hearing your stories at work! I once raised a baby blue jay. He totally bonded to me, and never had any desire to return to the wild. What a baby! And he made the most god-awful squacks!

    My naughty kittie likes to come along on the dog walks. This time of year, many robins and cardinals follow us for an entire block, shrieking at us! It took me some time to figure out that it was baby season, and the parents were trying to warn her away.

    I try to keep her inside as much as possible this time of year. Luckily, she’s a terrible hunter, and has only caught (to my knowledge) a couple of mice. Doesn’t stop her from trying, though.

    As always, thanks for the great blog entry.

    • August 6, 2014 11:49 am

      Thanks for the stories, Mary! Bird parents are definitely attuned to what’s going on around their young- I get squawked at in the nesting season just walking along paths in the parks.

      Hope all is going well at the library!

  10. August 6, 2014 11:42 am

    I can hear them screaming now – both the Blue Jays and the Robins. This is a great story, well told and photographed!

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  1. Young Blue Jays Again. | Seasons Flow

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