Posted by: atowhee | January 7, 2015


HAWK1 HAWK2 HAWK3 HAWK4This Sharp-shinned Hawk was high in a cottonwood along Ashland Creek near Ashland Pond recently.  Then the next day when I visited the area Scrub-Jays were in a fulminating posse.  Small groups would gather in a treetop, screaming in alarm or anger.  Then one followed by the others would fly off to another high perch and repeat.  I could not see a Sharpie or any other object of their fear and fury.  Jays were seen all around the pond, not in a concentrated spot.  There were far more jays than usual so some had come from the nearby neighborhood to join the ruckus.

Had some heinous crime previously been perpetrated against a jay thereabouts?  None of the other birds, including two Steller’s, seemed perturbed.  Ducks paddled calmly about the pond, sparrows hopped around, feeding on the ground.  Starlings lazed in the wan sunlight.    The Blue Heron stolidly stood on his center pond perch. Yet the Scrub-Jays were adamant. The crime must be punished.  But the feathered lynch mob could not find its target.  If they had found a focus it would have become the familiar sight of corvids mobbing an enemy.  This was closer to panic.  We humans are not the only irrational creature on earth.  I shall never know whether something had really happened or whether jays, like many humans, are simply prone to believe apocalyptic rumors and socially transmitted paranoia.

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