Jerry’s Journal: Blue Jays Treat Kid Campers to Show
The following story is submitted to Lower Bucks Source by the Silver Lake Nature Center as part of a developing relationship and sharing agreement.
Every two weeks SLNC will be submitting content about the flora & fauna, events, and/or topical stories highlighting one of Bucks County’s “Jewels” to inform the public of all that SLNC has to offer. Jerry’s Journal will be a part of the sharing agreement and will run from time to time
Jerry’s Journal: Blue Jays
The summer air was sultry and bright. Our breath felt thick in our lungs as our group of intrepid summer camp students and I peered through the dense foliage of the swamp in search of wildlife. The heavy silence was broken by a screech of “Jay! Jay!” from above in the tree tops. We scrambled forward to catch a glimpse of the creature making such a raucous sound. A flash of blue feathers in the canopy and our assumption is confirmed; it was indeed a Blue Jay.
This large crested songbird with its brilliant blue, white, and black feathers is a year – round resident of this part of the world. What most people don’t know is that these relatives of the crow are highly intelligent and have tight family bonds.
My young companions crouched in awe watching several Blue Jays circling and diving at a plump Grey Squirrel that sat on the ground undaunted, eating a cache of acorns. Acorns are the Blue Jays’ favorite food, and these birds are thought to have serendipitously aided the spread of Oak Trees after the last ice age due to their fondness of them. The crest of a Blue Jay can be raised and lowered and corresponds to its aggression level. The higher the crest, the more agitated the bird. This family of Blue Jays had their crests completely raised!
The children giggled as this chunky Grey Squirrel refused to move even with all the noise and diving from the Jays. Suddenly from high in the mighty Oak came the unmistakable call of the Red-tailed Hawk, a known predator of squirrels! The Grey Squirrel, hearing the hawk call, raced for the closest tree and scampered up quickly to hide. The family of Blue Jays then dived onto the acorns, all except one lone Jay that stayed high in the tree. Much to the astonishment of the children this Blue Jay gave out a loud call that sounded like a Red-tailed Hawk! This species of bird, known for imitating other bird calls, had imitated the hawk to scare off the squirrel. This was an example of mimicry at its finest. After all the acorns were gone, we tromped off back to the Nature Center imitating hawk calls as we did so.
Upcoming Events at SLNC
Intro to Kayaking – July 18 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Moonlight Kayaking Excursion– July 18 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Changed from Saturday, April 11th, 10am – 2pm TO Saturday, October 10th!!