Friday, October 2, 2009

Freeloading squawkers

The strange muffled squawks caught my attention first, and I stopped to scan the woody branches of the gnarled southern oak. The source was a trio of fledgling blue jays, fluffy and fat, bouncing on a slender finger of new growth. Their croaks only a suggestion of the irritating shrieks of adulthood. Would they survive under the watchful eyes of the red shouldered hawks in the area, I wondered?

Together the daring juveniles fluttered from limb to limb, testing their wings. When they finally agreed on a perch, their beaks flew open in unison, screeching and pleading like three toddlers in tantrum. Even though they had left the nest, they continued to beg for food and expected (no, demanded) to be fed.

As if responding to my thoughts, a large blue jay perched nearby and squawked a protective warning. Would she dive bomb me to protect her young? I didn’t stay to find out. I left so that she could feed her squawking youngsters and perhaps provide some much needed discipline.