Friday, September 22, 2006

A Bluejay's Sudden Tameness

It's a startling experience to suddenly be able to walk right up to a wild bird, to see the brilliance and incredible detail of their feathers close up. I found this bluejay standing quietly next to one of our backyard ponds late one afternoon this week, a few hundred feet away from busy Harrison Street. It showed no fear, no aggression. I went inside to get the camera and returned to find my daughters petting it. Only the tail feathers, bent at a strange angle, gave a clue as to why this bird did not flee our presence. The Mercer County Wildlife Center (609 883 6606) was closed, but their message said to put the bird in a shoebox and keep it there overnight without any offerings of food and water. The county naturalist (230-6439) answered his phone and suggested that the bird might be dazed from having hit a window. The tail feathers would have stayed in the position the bird was in when it hit the window. With time, the bluejay might recover its wits and fly off. This, apparently, is what happened, since it flew up into a shrub when we tried to corral it into a box, and it was gone altogether the next morning.

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