Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blue Jay versus the Hawk





I know the pictures aren't so good but I thought the story was worth telling. Today I observed the Blue Jay eating dandelions in my backyard (do Blue Jays eat dandelions?!). A Red tailed Hawk (thank you to birdgirl for correcting my previous assumption that it was a sharp shinned) flew overhead and perched himself in my neighbor's tree. The Blue Jay immediately flew over to him and landed in the same tree shrieking very loudly. The hawk shrieked back. Meanwhile, the Robin and 2 finches that were in my yard - flew into a nearby bush and took cover. The Blue Jay was relentless and I kept wondering why the hawk didn't make a meal out of him. Too big? Too loud? After a few more minutes, the hawk took off. Then the Blue Jay flew back into my yard after a job well done. What a brave bird!
*P.S. If you look very carefully in the photo, you can see the Blue Jay to the right of the Hawk in the same tree.

11 comments:

Jessica said...

Good job blue jay!! Great story. I have a blue jay couple that has been getting a little more brave about letting me approach them. I often see the male feeding the female. I think they are such beautuful birds!

Bird Girl said...

Great observation, Shelley! During nesting season...I think these birds become the bravest defenders of their territories -- funny how it leaves the hawks puzzled, at best!

Bird Girl said...

Forgot to tell you...your predator is a Red-tailed hawk. It's hard to ID hawks. Sharpies are not much bigger than the bluejays (from what I read...I've never seen one) but I have a friend who gets one all the time.

Shellmo said...

Birdgirl - thank you for the correction! I wasn't quite sure - I will need to change the name of my post!

Jessica - funny you mention the blue jays being more approachable - I have found that true this year too!

J. Karl Clampit said...

Shellmo, I've heard somewhere before that Blue Jays watch out for the smaller birds. I've heard of stories of Blue Jay letting out a call indicating that something is up! Anyway, sounds like he doesn't like Hawks.

Sandpiper said...

Wow! What an interesting post. Blue Jays are amazing the way they confront and harass hawks! I did once see a Jay annoy a Harrier just a little too much and suddenly the Harrier went after him instead! I had never seen that happen before.

Maria said...

Shelley, what a cool story! Great job by the blue jay! It's neat that you were able to watch the action. I'm amazed that a blue jay could chase away a hawk.

Your blog is really beautiful!

Anil P said...

David and Goliath :)

Nick S said...

Great story. Those Blue Jays are tough birds :-)

Shellmo said...

Sandpiper - it is amazing how brave the blue jay is!

Maria - thanks so much!

Anil - good analogy!

Nick - they ARE tough, huh?!

joated said...

Blue jays, like crows will often mob a red-tail or an owl and harrass the daylights out of them. I've never seen a red-tail take a bird for a meal. Now if it were a Coopers Hawk or the smaller Sharp-shinned...you would have seen one heck of an aerial dogfight!

We had a Sharpy feeding at our bird feeder for much of February and March. Juncos and redpolls didn't stand a chance! ZOOM! BAM! and a puff of feathers exploding in the air. Then off the hawk would go to a nearby branch or a log on the ground to eat its meal.