by J.D. Roth

When I went out to set up for the garage sale this morning, I was startled by the sight of two jays harrying a crow.

Though we’ve begun watching birds since we moved into this house, we really know very little about bird behavior. We were under the impression that crows and jays were allies, but perhaps “allies” means something different in the context of ornithology than it does in international political relations.

I stopped to watch the action.

The crow was attempting to attack something, or take something, or do something in the cedar tree. He would fly into the thick of it only to be set upon by a flock of jays. At first I hypothesized that there was a nest of some sort, in the tree, but now I’m not sure. Do jays nest in cedars? Near houses? Do crows attack jay nests? I want to speak with Jenn’s parents; they’d know.

The crow would stay in the cedar as long as possible. The jays — six? seven? more? — would set upon it, darting in and out, fluttering their wings, chirping harshly. The crow squawked. In fact, its squawks almost sounded like the quacking of a duck.

The battle raged for several minutes.

In the end, the crow was driven from the cedar to the holly, pursued by a particularly aggressive jay. The crow made one more attempt on the cedar, but then the aggressive jay dogged it into the trees across the street.

This birdfight raised a lot of questions.

Other recent bird stuff:

If only we could harness bird power to perform yard work.

Updated: 07 May 2005

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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