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September 10, 2011 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Pecking Order

A few days ago I heard the unmistakable cry of a Blue Jay. I grabbed my camera and ran outside just in time to see two Jays fly down from the apple tree and take over the tray feeder.

While I was shooting the pictures I noticed that all the other birds had left the feeders but hadn’t left the yard. I had to laugh when I looked up at the garage roof and saw over twenty sparrows sitting and waiting for the Jays to finish eating.

There really is a pecking order at the feeder but the Blue Jays are the only birds I’ve observed actually announcing their presence from a nearby tree to clear out the feeder before they approach.

In spite of their tendency be bullies I enjoy having them stop by my yard. They are beautiful birds and wonderful subjects to photograph. They only stayed a few minutes and the sparrows and finches returned to the feeder.

If you are interested in learning more about birds take a look at my review of The Joy of Birding: A Beginner’s Guide and enter my giveaway to win your own copy. Enter through September 18th.



I link up my bird photos on Saturday Snapshot hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.



Leave a Comment
  1. Alyce / Sep 10 2011 2:20 am

    That is so funny how they’re all waiting in line on the roof. The bluejays we have here don’t have those pretty stain-glass-pattern tail feathers.


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 12:47 pm

      It’s interesting that they don’t go west of the Rocky’s and the Jays in the west have the solid color blue.


  2. Trish / Sep 10 2011 4:12 am

    There was a funny scene at our bird feeder last year when a cardinal intimidated and then finally chased off a blue jay! I’d never seen anything like it. I was inside the kitchen watching the scene unfold, holding my coffee cup and cheering.


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 12:48 pm

      Good for him! I’ve never seen a cardinal stand his ground. Mine are so shy they are always the first to run.


  3. carol / Sep 10 2011 4:35 am

    Stunning markings on these Blue Jays and then a boring grey headdress!

    have a good weekend



    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 12:50 pm

      But the crest on their head does stand up when they get aggressive.


  4. Paulita / Sep 10 2011 5:45 am

    We have blue jays at our bird feeder. I’ve even seen them dive bomb a cat. They’re brave and they are beautiful. I posted a picture of a great blue heron on my Saturday Snapshot. Nothing like your gorgeous bird pictures though. Here’s Mine


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 12:50 pm

      Your heron is a great shot and a beautiful bird.


  5. Jill / Sep 10 2011 6:17 am

    I took my class on a field trip to a wooded area and our guide was telling us how blue jays are not known for being nice birds, but they really are eye catching. This is a really nice photo!


  6. Jayme@Beachreader / Sep 10 2011 6:23 am

    So bluejays are the bullies of the playground 🙂


  7. Mary / Sep 10 2011 6:40 am

    I thought it and then scrolled down to see you wrote it: there really is a pecking order 🙂 Great pics, Leslie.


  8. Christine Rains / Sep 10 2011 7:23 am

    Great photos! The bluejays haven’t come back around here yet. They will soon and the poor cardinals get bullied by them.


  9. laurelrainsnow / Sep 10 2011 8:09 am

    I like how they’re all lined up, patiently waiting….Great shots!



  10. mostraum / Sep 10 2011 8:30 am

    I had no idea that Blue Jays were such bullies (probably because we don’t have any around here), but they really are pretty. Funny the way the other ones wait around 🙂


  11. BermudaOnion / Sep 10 2011 8:33 am

    Blue Jays are bullies but they sure are pretty.


  12. Lisa / Sep 10 2011 8:42 am

    Blue jays are beautiful, but boy are you right about the bullying! My mom always chases them away from her feeder – she’d rather have squirrels than jays.

    Saturday Snapshot


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 2:11 pm

      Oh, I don’t know about the squirrels. The ones in my yard can be pretty naughty!


  13. Sheila (Book Journey) / Sep 10 2011 8:52 am

    Oh love the pic of the birds on the roof!


  14. Jennifer Ryder / Sep 10 2011 9:27 am

    We have several blue jays in our neighborhood. They LOVE peanuts and I buy big bags of them in the shell. They come by every day for them. I call them “The Gang of Three”. First they’ll sit quietly in my neighbor’s crabapple tree hoping I see them waiting. Then they’ll make a sort of soft (for them) calling sound. When they run out of patience they’ll start screeching until I throw out a handful of peanuts.


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 2:12 pm

      They’re quite intelligent birds. And they know there’s no way you can ignore a screeching Jay!


  15. dixie / Sep 10 2011 9:30 am

    I love how sparrows line up on rooftops. I often hear strange noises when I’m outside and look up to see them jumping around the rain gutters on our house or the house next door.


  16. Sherrie(Just Books) / Sep 10 2011 10:37 am

    Great snapshots! The Blue Jays around here do the same thing. They bully their way into the feeder and the others have to wait their turn. Have a great day!

    Just Books


  17. Bev@My Reader's Block / Sep 10 2011 11:54 am

    I love the blue jays! Even though they are a bit of the bully in the bird world. They are so handsome and sleek looking. (The sparrows should team up…surely 20 of them could take those two jays. Lol.)

    Here’s my Snapshot:


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 2:14 pm

      You would think the sparrow would gang up, but they don’t. When the first sparrow flies away they all follow him.


  18. Amy / Sep 10 2011 1:42 pm

    Gorgeous markings on the Blue Jay. It’s interesting that they let the other birds know they’re around! I wonder if it’s friendly or more of a warning!


    • Leslie / Sep 10 2011 2:15 pm

      In this case it’s a warning to leave the food. The only time I’ve seen them do anything friendly is when they give a warning call if a hawk is in a nearby tree.


  19. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Sep 10 2011 3:13 pm

    We had so many bluejays at our other home 110 miles away, and here I have not seen (1) blue jay – they are bullies. Lovely shots.


  20. Vicki / Sep 10 2011 4:28 pm

    That’s a lot of birds on that roof!
    Here’s Mine


  21. smellincoffee / Sep 10 2011 5:20 pm

    That first shot is incredible! I’ve never managed to get anywhere near as close to a bird before. They’re always zooming off! My first Saturday Snapshot is posted at Let me be Frank:


  22. Suko / Sep 10 2011 7:09 pm

    The Blue Jays have such amazing colors and feathers, with an almost mosaic look! Wonderful bird photos and post! 🙂


  23. gautami tripathy / Sep 10 2011 9:51 pm

    I love Blue Jays! Their chitterings…

    Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!


  24. Cipriano / Sep 11 2011 2:05 am

    Wow, I never knew that Blue Jays were that……. pushy!
    Aren’t birds in general just endlessly fascinating?
    Really gorgeous photos here.


  25. Debbie Rodgers / Sep 11 2011 12:39 pm

    I feel the same way about blue jays, Leslie – they really ARE such big bullies, but they’re so pretty, I still enjoy seeing them around. Don’t know how the smaller birds feel, though LOL


  26. Beth F / Sep 12 2011 7:48 am

    I would take the blue jays over the grackles any day. And my little sparrows and wrens and finches do the same thing when the big guys come in to feed.


  27. Jenners / Sep 13 2011 7:48 pm

    Great photo! I love the vividness of their feathers … even though they are kind of bullies. They do make a lot of noise and scare everyone else off. But they know they are so pretty that they can get away with it!


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