The Blue Jay and Me

At dawn this morning I took my coffee to the front porch to witness a new day.  Only a few minutes passed before a Scrub Jay arrived, landing on a live oak limb not fifteen feet away.  Perhaps he was surprised at my presence, because he quietly considered me for what may have been a full minute.  I’m reminded of an incident a decade earlier in Nevada’s ghost town, Rhyolite.  While watching the birth of a desert morning I disturbed a jackrabbit taking his morning dust bath.  Battle scars marked his pelt.  In the hare world they were no doubt badges of honor.  It was obvious he’d been there and done that.  Startled, he paused and appraised me.  Apparently, deciding that an aging critter such as me posed no threat to his well-being he turned his back on me and continued with his “dip.” My scrub jay must have reached a similar conclusion because he turned his attention to the task at hand – foraging after a night’s fast. As he hopped to a higher limb he was silhouetted against the morning sky and I saw a plump caterpillar clutched in his beak.  Whether by chance or choice, he turned his back to me while he dined.  Breakfast was messy.  Leaning to his left, he wiped his beak on his perch, first one side, and then the other.  The results were less than satisfactory.  Hopping to a higher limb, he repeated the process.  Being a native Texas, he knew that higher temperatures were imminent and he had places to be and things to do. And he was gone.