On a beautiful day like this – sunny, light breeze, 82° – I often have lunch in the back yard, surrounded by plants and, occasionally, critters. As I was eating today’s lunch, I heard a noise and turned to see a scrub jay land on the board edging the rose bed. It’s hard to miss a scrub jay. They’re almost a foot long head to tail, with a 15″ wingspan, and most of the bird is bright blue. Since he (assumption, I can’t tell them apart) was only 10 feet or so away, I expected him to take off, but he hopped around the brick patio a bit, poking his beak, and finally extracted a string of dried grass. Then he took off, heading for the mass of greenery at the back of the yard (an English laurel, 2 camellia bushes, 2 full grown trees, a shore pine and a live oak, and a ceanothus).
Hm. I wonder. A few minutes later he swooped by again and perched on top of the garage, again digging with his beak in an indecipherable glob of gup on top of the insulator where the electric wire enters the garage. Can’t you find something nicer than that, I wondered. But he picked up something he liked and vanished again.
I think we have a nesting pair of scrub jays.
Sounds like you will have company this summer. We used to have a pair and the female became very friendly and would come when I called her. She was here for years but didn’t always have the same mate. I used to give her peanuts in the shell on our railing and she loved it. On year she and her mate brought a fledged baby to learn how to get peanuts. Didn’t work. The baby spotted a large bug on the sidewalk and swooped down to get that. The parents gave the impression of exasperation with its behavior.
We’ve had nesting scrub jays before; they ran everything but the hummingbirds out of the yard (mainly the towhees which usually nest here). Hope they’ll be more neighborly this time but it’s not too likely, they’re pretty territorial. I seem to remember they even ran off the squirrel.