Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gray jay nest

Yesterday while on a run I heard gray jays making a big commotion in the forest ahead. I slowed down and then stopped to watch 2 adult birds harassing a raven perched in a nearby tree. A few minutes later the raven, obviously having had enough of the frantic jays, flew off. The jays settled down immediately. Within another minute they both flew to their nest, giving away the location high in a spruce tree. I couldn't see the nest very well because of obscuring branches, but I did see the adults carrying food to the nest and carrying away fecal sacs, so I know there are young in the nest.

Gray jays are among the earliest nesting of our local birds. Often the dark fledged young of the year accompany their parents about the same time as migrants arrive and start building nests. The photo with this article was taken by Dan Strickland and it illustrates one of the risks of nesting early. Gray jays are very tough birds. I was thrilled to see this first ever, for me, gray jay nest.

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