It began innocently enough . . . first one showed up. With its bright blue grayish body it was a pretty bird to watch . . . especially in the winter against the snow and grayish skies; but, little did I realize at the time it was only the beginning . . . the beginning of the battle of wills. My will against the will of the Pinyon Jays. It is a battle that has been waged going on nearly eighteen months now.
That is the name of this beautiful bird . . . Pinyon Jay. It is a pretty bird, a beautiful bird in fact. I love to photograph the bird because it is always a wonderful contrast to anything else that might be in the picture. Alone, I appreciate the bird . . . the problem is that the Pinyon Jay rarely travels alone. No . . . it travels in packs . . . it travels in gangs. This ornithological wonder is an opportunistic marauder. A marauder, by definition, is one who roams or goes around in quest of plunder or to make a raid for booty . . . the very essence of the Pinyon Jay.
It turns out that that single Pinyon Jay who innocently appeared at the bird feeders at the Keener Homestead was actually the scout whose task it is to find and relay new sources of food to the rest of the pack/gang. I am not sure how it did it . . . whether it was some sort of shortwave radio or a type of science fiction mind meld; but within ten minutes, approximately another fifty of its buddies showed up and proceeded to lay waste to each and every bird feeder in the yard. Several pounds of seed gone within a matter of minutes . . . these are the feather piranhas of Mother Nature’s design. It was an awesome sight to witness as they stripped clean every ounce of bird seed available. Swoosh . . . it was gone.
Now, I believe that the birds that we support through the Keener Welfare Program deserve and need our support to survive. I believe that, for the most part, we support pretty much all the birds that make an appearance . . . and, we have quite an assortment of birds passing through our feeders; and, that includes the Pinyon Jays. At least that is what I thought when they first appeared. I figured that they would take what they need and head on out. HA! They fooled me.
It seems that this species of bird has a bottomless pit for a stomach . . . an insatiable appetite . . . an addiction to free food. I think that their only purpose is to wipe out any source of food, shut out the other birds, and to establish world domination in the ornithological sphere of existence. They do it so well.
These birds are smart . . . they are organized. Besides the scouts they have those whose role is to hop on the feeders and knock the seed out as others gather on the ground to catch the falling seed. They have sentries posted to warn the pack/gang of intruders who might be a threat. With a quick caw they are out of there . . . at least it seems that they are out of there; but, they are not. They leave behind spies who watch for that moment when the coast is clear and then send out the message . . . again through short wave radio or mind meld . . . calling all their fellow marauders back to the scene of the crime to plunder, pillage, rape, and strip whatever remnants of food are left. They are methodical in their marauding.
Loud noise scares them off . . . for a while. Throwing rocks at them scares them off . . . for a while. Sending the mighty guard dogs, or at least as mighty as two Dachshunds can be, scares them off . . . for a while. I thought about play Justin Beiber music loudly over loudspeakers, but I don’t think anyone—including our feathered friends—should be inflicted with such inhumane torture. I think popping a few of them with a BB gun would slow them down . . . you know, hang a few dead bodies around as a message to stay away . . . but, the wife won’t let me shoot them. I thought maybe a shot gun blast would help . . . but, once again, the wife wouldn’t let me; and, besides we are not allowed to shoot off firearms within the town limits. It seems that no matter what I do, the Pinyon Jay has become a part of the bird welfare system whether I like it or not . . . they are here to stay.
For a pretty bird they do not represent my preconceived idea of birds. Most of the birds that come to the Keener Homestead are cordial little fellows who only take what they need and leave. Pinyon Jays are gluttons . . . feathered pigs . . . who eat until they pop! They are bullies to the rest of the birds scaring off their competition with numbers. They are noisy . . . which is often their downfall because it announces their presence. Which makes me think that they are arrogant . . . which fits their marauding personalities. It just rubs my fair-mindedness the wrong way.
At the present time the war is at an impasse. My sneaky foe appears less frequently, but is still doing major damage to the bird feed we are putting out. I am not sure that it is anything that I have done personally to curb their marauding . . . I think it is the new neighbors . . . they have a cat . . . a cat that likes to eat birds . . . which is a whole other post on this blog down the road. Since Sam has showed up the Pinyon Jays have quit showing up like clockwork to pillage the feeders. I noticed that Sam looks as if he has put on a few pounds since moving into the neighborhood. Whatever the case, it is a vicious cycle . . . and, I will be damned if I am going to let some feathered creature, lower than me on the food chain . . . win!
But, the birds have got to eat . . . even the Pinyon Jays!