[Mnbird] Jay mimec

DONALD GRUSSING Owner cdrussin at centurylink.net
Mon Sep 12 16:48:35 CDT 2016

And when they do sing, which I have only heard once, it is soft, musical and beautiful -- such a wonderful surprise. 

Don Grussing 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Pamela Freeman via Mnbird" <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net> 
To: "Jon Gorder" <jngorder at yahoo.com> 
Cc: "Mnbird" <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net> 
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 12:30:16 PM 
Subject: Re: [Mnbird] Jay mimec 

I have read about this behavior in a few articles and sites, after hearing it myself at my feeder a year or so ago. Apparently they do it not infrequently, and it isn't completely known why, but there are theories. One theory is that they do it to scare other birds from a food source. Another is that they have acquired it as a warning call and use it to warn such as when something or someone gets too near to their nest. However, there are instances when they have been observed making this call when there is no reason to warn or other jays present to communicate to. ​One article posits that they may just enjoy the sound and that it is similar enough to other sounds they make naturally that it just is incorporated into their vocabulary. 

We get hawks, of several species around our house, and I always now look rather than assuming I know that it is a hawk after finding myself duped by that jay! 
I find the jays interesting to observe. They often work in groups under and at my feeders, where some go about feeding, while one or two others keep watch, switching places/roles. 
They are often maligned, being noisy and seeming rather aggressive (who else in the bird world dares to chase a cat!) but they are really interesting birds, and quite lovely. I find corvids fascinating. 
I think we tend to dismiss them, because they seem common, and their call, nay, scream can be loud and perhaps annoying, but if we were traveling from somewhere else and saw their blue beauty, we would ooh and ahh at them, like we do tropical beauties elsewhere. Their shape, too, is pleasing, with that crest. 

- Pamela 
Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. 

“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” 
― Aldo Leopold 

On Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 11:49 AM, Jon Gorder via Mnbird < mnbird at lists.mnbird.net > wrote: 

For about two weeks we've been hearing a distinct Red Tail call around our block here in St. Paul. 
We thought maybe an early migrator stopping for rest but then it kept up for days on end. I finally heard it in a tree right outside our place and went out with binoculars and found a Blue Jay in a white pine overlooking the peanut feeder and it was just doing a perfect imitation of a hawk. 

We knew some Corvids were pretty good mimics but never heard of this behavior. Is it more common than we know? 

Jon and Lisa, 
Cathedral Hill 

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