[Tweeters] Steller's Jay call and other observations

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Tue Mar 24 19:36:40 PDT 2009


Lee,

That jay call may not have been random. When I lived in Redmond years
ago, we had Townsend's Chipmunks coming to our feeders. When a
chipmunk was present, a Steller's Jay might fly in and give the Red-
tailed Hawk call, thereby startling the little buck-toothed bugger
right out of the feeder. I always assumed it was purposeful behavior.

Have you heard the lovely musical sounds that these jays sometimes
make? Blue Jays in the East do the same thing, and I always consider
it a special treat.

I know I have read that Douglas Squirrels use a lot of moss in their
nests; not sure about No. Flying Squirrels.

Dennis Paulson
Seattle, WA

On Mar 24, 2009, at 12:00 PM, tweeters-
request at mailman2.u.washington.edu wrote:


> Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 14:40:24 -0700

> From: Lee Rentz <lee at leerentz.com>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Steller's Jay call and other observations

> To: tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

> Message-ID: <BB831184-DFFF-4721-A563-70CFF1C6AE50 at leerentz.com>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed

>

> When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I considered the

> Steller's Jay call to be one of the harshest bird songs I had ever

> heard. I've mellowed a bit as I've come to enjoy these birds, and it

> no longer grates on my ears.

>

> Saturday while we were working outside, cleaning out nest boxes,

> Karen and I heard a screech that sounded like a Red-tailed Hawk.

> Today, I identified the perpetrator of this call. It was a Steller's

> Jay, making the call repeatedly as it perched about 15 feet from our

> feeder (once it even made the call with a whole peanut stuffed part

> way inside its bill). This call would seem to be a good strategy for

> keeping competitors away from the feeder, or perhaps it was just a

> random call that this individual liked to make.

>

> Today about ten Band-tailed Pigeons crowded onto our platform feeder.

>

> A question: while doing a spring check inside a birdhouse sized for

> a screech-owl, I found the house filled up to the hole with moss. I

> suspect that it was used by either a Northern Flying Squirrel or a

> Douglas Squirrel as a den. Would anyone know which squirrel species

> would use moss to this extent? We have both in the area, though I

> haven't seen a Northern Flying Squirrel in over two years at our

> feeders.

>

> Lee Rentz

> Shelton, WA






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