SOL: Blue Jay Gratitude

slice-of-life_individualI owe such a debt to the birds–maybe even my sanity these days (that’s assuming I still have it). However I’m feeling, watching the birds takes me out of myself and lifts my mood. It’s a combination of meditation and treasure hunt.

At this time of year, newcomers abound at the feeders and through the yard and there’s so much to see. Orioles linger at orange halves, red breasted grosbeaks sing in a nearby apple tree. You might see a finch flapping his wings wildly to woo his lady love, or a hummingbird arcing through the sky in a pendulum flight display. Some days I’m rewarded with a glimpse of a migrating warbler hopping through trees or shrubs. Recently, I delighted in seeing a chestnut sided warbler and a black and white warbler within minutes.  All this in my own yard.

I sometimes feel guilty about the blue jays, though. They are here year-round, so I tend to overlook them as loud and pesky regulars. Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, and it truly is so with blue jays. If I’d never seen one before and one flew by my window, I’d be rapt–delirious with joy at the beauty of the brilliant blue, the raised crest, and the bold black and white markings. Since they’re here daily though, I tend to disregard them.


Yesterday, however, I looked up from my computer at the insistent call of a blue jay. I nearly turned away again–not much to see there. Just a jay. It’s so easy to overlook or disparage this common bird with its gluttonous, swaggering behavior. It swoops in like it owns the place. Big, bold and brassy! But yesterday, my eyes lingered.

Have you ever watched a blue jay squawk? Really watched? I’d never noticed before, but it invests its entire body, lifting and stretching with each call. This jay sat on the platform feeder squawking away, bobbing up and down. Sun filtered along its back, highlighting the softer blue, then illuminating the lower brilliant blue, black and white feathers like stained glass. The jay stopped squawking only to eat the choicest seeds. It cocked its head, contemplated its choice and then tucked each one away. I wondered at its capacity–how many could it fit!?– reminded that jays had a role in reforesting the land with oak trees after the glaciers retreated. Amazing! Finally, the jay retreated to the tree tops where it commenced squawking again, its momentum setting the thin branches swaying. Other jays joined it in a raucous chorus that literally set the treetops into motion.  

I often think of how much I miss by simply not paying attention. There are so many things to amaze and delight within the commonplace. Yesterday I was grateful to the blue jay for reminding me.


blue jay enjoying peanuts at a different feeder



10 thoughts on “SOL: Blue Jay Gratitude

  1. Patty McLaughlin says:

    Amazing pic

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I read part of your post out loud to my daughter because just the other day we were watching a blue jay squawk and bounce. We thought perhaps it was angry at our cat nearby. The bird that my friend Mary is caring for is a blue jay. She is getting her wings in, and their color is truly amazing. We really don’t know if it’s a he or she, but her body is slender, so I am thinking female.
    From my kitchen window, I’m watching chickadees, tufted titmouse, and cardinals feed. I’ve ordered a mealworm feeder to try to attract more birds. They are such a joy to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think it’s so neat that your friend rescued that baby jay. I don’t know how to distinguish between male and female. Is it a size thing? Have you ever put out peanuts for your birds? The tufted titmice and jays love them!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, your depth of noticing is amazing to me because you walk away with gorgeous photos and descriptions that hold my attention. I am off for my walk but sadly to say that the birds do not flock to our neighborhood and stay for long periods. I do love listening to their call and feeling relaxed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Carol! What’s amazing to me is how the more I look, the more I see. I wonder, not infrequently, how many times I have missed seeing amazing or unusual things because I simply wasn’t paying attention.


  4. Amanda Potts says:

    It’s not only your description and photos that capture my attention here, but also your ability to notice the everyday, to find beauty in the commonplace. You’ve made me think of RW Emerson’s writing in “Nature”: “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

    You have let the bluejay find a place in my heart (and maybe my mother’s because I am *definitely* sharing this post with her. Not sure if squirrels or jays are her bigger complaint!).

    And just so you know, your post about tulips a few years ago means that I have fallen in love with the messy exuberance of the fully bloomed tulips all around me. Blue jays: you’re next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh, that RW Emerson quote is stunning! Thanks so much for sharing it. As regards blue jays, I’ve written some less than flattering posts about them before. In fact, one was so negative, that I then wrote them a poem of apology! lol Thanks for your kind words about my tulip post–I had forgotten all about it and had fun revisiting it. (Funny how that happens!)


  5. rosecappelli says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Your writing is lovely. Yes, I would say we have something in common with the bird-watching. Today a wren flew in our house and was desperately trying to get back outside. I opened the door, scooped her up in my hands, and released her. I’m not sure who was more frightened, but I felt such a responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

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