Blue Jay, “Hey.”

Got the day off work today, and slept in a little this morning. I had removed a box fan from one of my apartment windows, and I was just standing looking out the wide open window enjoying the view when I noticed some birds. On the far side of some tennis courts on the school grounds that neighbor my apartment complex, I saw two big blue jays and a larger black bird I could not identify.

Jay (okay, Magpie) on the Prowl - an old photo of mine of a bird similar to this morning's encounter

Curious, I got out my binoculars and checked the trio of birds out. The mysterious stranger was just a big crow. The hyper-territorial jays had probably been harassing it, and now they were all just resting on top of the tennis court fences eyeing each other warily.

Minor mystery solved, I put down my binoculars but remained standing at my window taking in the crystal clear blue sky morning. As I turned my attention back towards the tennis courts my view was suddenly cut off by a huge bird that appeared to be flying straight at the window. Just as I blinked in surprise, the bird changed the pitch of its wings (revealing that it is one of the blue jays,) and banked up in a stall to land on the eaves overhanging the window.

I think I must have said “Whoa,” or “Cool”, or something similar. Anyway right after that, a blue jay head appeared from the roof above and checked me out with one eye. Now this would have been a neat balancing-act trick to see from outside, as it would have required the bird to stand on the edge of the roof gutter and lean almost his whole body upside down in order to stick just his head past the depth of the gutter to look behind it and into the window like some kind of avian Peeping Tom.

Could he have seen me from so far away checking him out with binoculars and been offended? Was this his way of saying, “Hey, you want to peep at me? I’ll show you!” Or had the bird just been startled to see and hear something as it was coming in for a landing and out of curiosity had to check it out?

Seeing the peaking bird head I nodded and said “Hey”. The head retracted and a second later I swear I heard the blue jay “Hey,” back. Just two of god’s creatures exchanging morning pleasantries:

“Top of the morning to you.”

“And the balance to you.”

[LATE EDITOR’S NOTE: I went to add a photo to this post of a “jay” similar to the ones I saw and realized they weren’t “blue jays” at all. They were actually Black-Billed Magpies. Guess the bluish iridescence on their wings and that they are in the “Jay” family confused me. I have an old photo I took many years ago of just this kind of bird (that I have added to the post above). I had titled this photo “Jay on the prowl” so I guess I have thought these were jays even then. Had I realized these were technically Magpies and not Jays, this post would have been titled “Magpie, ‘Hi'”, which doesn’t sound as good to my ear. Besides, it really did sound like the bird said “hey”, and well… Magpie and Hey don’t rhyme… 😉 ]

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