Posted by: atowhee | February 7, 2022


The siskins and the accipiters seem to have abandoned our garden…is that coincidence or cause and effect? Juncos now dominate in numbers, crows and jays in stage presence, Bushtits when you presume you can measure intensity, turkeys when size and mass are weighed. Only one day in the first week of the month–turkeys must have really large territory and plenty of primate accomplices.

Today is Jay Day. That is, naturally, disingenuous. Every day in our garden is Jay Day. With no jay there is no day, or vice versa. Today was highlighted by the performance of Junco Jay, he of the white-stripes-on-tail, who has now molted at least twice since I first noted his unique stern markings. And what mindful birder could not bow to such a stern? The local juncos must be zealously jealous. JJ’s tail stripes are also perfectly parallel but three times as long as any junco can hope for. Every time he flies those white stripes flash. A few peanuts dispensed, and he is one of the first on the scene:

Standard issue scrub-jay. He’s “Sir Scrub” to you, your furless mammal:

Words fail

Just another Steller* performance, a pair this time though they strike in solitary sorties, too quick for the bullying scrubs to do nought but fuss and scream. Note in third image Seller rejects first peanut–petooey, and spits it out:

White-crown at Fairview–this is a bird I don’t find many places here in Salem. Too many trees in most places.

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Feb 7, 2022 1
19 species

Canada Goose  2
Northern Shoveler  40
Gadwall  10
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  25     a high numkber for this location
Green-winged Teal  120
Bufflehead  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
American Coot  X
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  2
California Scrub-Jay  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  8
White-crowned Sparrow  6
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  12
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Feb 7, 2022
15 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  5
Steller’s Jay  2
California Scrub-Jay  7
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Bushtit  25
European Starling  1
House Finch  3
Lesser Goldfinch  10
American Goldfinch  2
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1

*I’ve written a bit about George Steller, but watching his pushy, handsome, self-assured namesakes I want to say they are perfect maintainers of his tradition as is the Steller Sea Eagle and the extinct Steller’s sea cow, Steller was the only literate survivor of the Bering Expedition, doomed by the commander’s arrogance and ignorance. Dr. Steller and a handful of sailors survived a winter of stranding and scurvy and the North Pacific to return to Siberia. There the colonizing Russian army threw Steller in prison for 1)being German 2) being able to read 3) speaking out on behalf of the hated, brutally treated local Inuit.
In prison Steller got pneumonia which killed him before he could return to Europe–only his journals with his natural discoveries survived the ordeal. This was decades before any other European scientist got to the Pacific Coast of North America. A truly Steller performance.

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