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First Flight

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It seems this happens once a year in our house.  Or, I should say, at least once a year.  This is the problem with having cats who go outside.  If I leave them inside they drive us all to the brink of insanity.  But letting them out has consequences because, well, they're hunters.  They hunt things I think are cute, but apparently they just believe are either tasty or entertaining.

I was cooking dinner and heard a ruckus through the open back window.  Pippin (a.k.a. "Sir Killer Fluffypants") was being dive bombed aggressively by a pair of blue jays, which could only mean one thing.

Rescue time.

Thankfully my husband and I both shot directly out of the house, and we got there in time.  Bitty Baby Blue Jay was unharmed, though not happy.  I scooped him up, and he and I stared eyeball to eyeball with one another for a moment while I considered what to do with him and felt his tiny heartbeat fluttering against my fingers.  No blood, no obvious wounds, alert.  But, tail feathers too short for real flight for a few more days.  In fact, no tail to speak of.  Just a stump he can waggle like a duck.

Given the ruckus over our heads, clearly mom and dad were around and looking out for him.  So into some shrubbery he went, hopefully high enough to avoid being eaten by anybody else overnight.  As I walked him over to the nearest shrub, my husband exclaimed and pointed to another Bitty Baby Blue Jay, hopping frantically through the yard and futilely flapping his stumpy wings.  So into a shrub he went, too.

Death grip on the branch:

A little conversation among friends:

Why do baby birds all look so frowny?

My guess, though I have no way to substantiate it, is that something disturbed these fellows in their nest, and caused them to take flight before they were quite ready.  I know approximately where their nest is, and it's high above cat level in our giant spruce tree.  But perhaps a crow or other predator came too close?  Regardless, as you can see from the pictures, they don't have a whole lot of wing or tail feathers to speak of, and despite valiant efforts, cannot become airborne.  They're definitely not quite as old as the blue jays in our yard usually are when we get to witness their first flights.  But, birds growing as fast as they do, it won't be long before they can fly... if they live that long in the great wilderness of my back yard.

Hiding in the quiet dark depths:

And THAT means my devilish cats, including Killer Fluffypants (Pippin) and Fatty Lightning-Fast McGee (Rocky), and even Grouchy Old Man Bird Eater (Tucker) are all relegated to the indoor domain for the next few days to give those poor blue jays a fighting chance.  God help us all.  Pippin already swept all the photo albums off the shelf behind me in a fit of pique.  Now he and the fatty are wrestling around my ankles as I type, which is pretty much what they spend their time outside doing anyway.

Pippin has angry ears.  First he lost out on his birdie snack, and now he's losing this wrestling match to Rocky.  It's so good for his ego.


reneé June 17, 2011 at 8:26 PM  

oh my.
that first photo is too much.
how can he look like an old man and a baby at the same time?
who knew that baby blue jays were so adorable?

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