There are a lot of blue jays in the Queensborough area, and while I know blue jays are not everybody’s favourite bird, I just love to see their beautiful colours and hear their cries when I emerge from the house each morning to leave for work. Their brilliant blue looks so bright and happy against the crisp white snow that lies everywhere these days.
In previous winters at the Manse we’ve had a fair number of blue jays visiting our bird feeder and checking out the nosh when we have tossed out pieces of past-its-best-before-date bread onto that blanket of snow. The Christmas before last, in fact, the visits of the blue jays pretty much made the whole day for me, as I wrote here.
This year, however, the blue jays, while still very much in evidence around the village, are not paying our birdseed offerings at the Manse as much mind as in the past. And I think I know why: this winter we have new neighbours, the quiet and pleasant Bob and Peggy, who have not one but two very well-stocked feeders out in front of their home. The blue jays (and chickadees, and woodpeckers) just adore those feeders. Why, when I drive past Bob and Peggy’s house on my way to or from work, I’m guaranteed to see a whole passel of jays scatter from the feeders, where they’ve been stuffing themselves, and head for some nearby evergreen branch at the sound of the approach of my car. I love to see them!
When Raymond and I met Bob and Peggy for the first time this past December, at a community Christmas celebration up at the Queensborough Community Centre (the village’s historic former one-room schoolhouse), I thanked them for keeping our local birds so well-fed. I think they appreciated the fact that we’d taken notice, though Bob made a joking (or was he?) reference to the high cost of buying all those bags of seed.
Anyway, last Sunday we actually did manage to lure a few blue jays away from the banquet at Bob and Peggy’s. The weather was really wintry – it had snowed all the night before, and then the freezing rain and wind showed up – and I expect that made the birds a little nervous. Raymond and I once again had a few slices of bread that were past their prime, and so I broke them up into pieces and tossed them out on top of all that accumulated snow off our front porch. And before long, the blue jays came and nabbed it.
But boy, did we ever notice a difference between how the blue jays looked on this visit and how they used to look in past winters when they stopped in. Man, these blue jays are not just healthy-looking; they are fat! And I think that’s because of the generosity of Bob and Peggy.
I’m very happy to see the birds that bring so much beauty and joy into our lives looking so stout and contented. It means they’ll stick around Queensborough, and tell their friends it’s a good place to be. So thanks, Bob and Peggy – and to all who provide for the blue jays and cardinals and chickadees and woodpeckers and whoever else is flying around out there. Happy birds just add to our happy little community!