Monday, July 9, 2007

Blue Jay

The other night, my husband was heading to the back yard, when I heard him call me to come look at something. There in the weeds, was a blue jay nestling fluttering across the yard and thru the bushes. It had most of it's feathers and should have been able to fly by this time. Unfortunately, it seems that both it's legs were hurt. It couldn't stand up. The wings worked fine, but it could only rest on it's body, on the ground. It couldn't get enough lift to fly.

We watched it for awhile to see if the parents were going to feed it, but they never showed up. It was getting dark and I knew if it stayed outside, it would become the feature in a "food chain event". I'm usually one to let Nature take it's course, but I wasn't sure, at that point, what was wrong with the bird, so I just couldn't leave it in the yard like that. I wanted to see how badly it was injured, and if it looked like nursing it back to health was an option.

I captured it by tossing a towel over it, then did an examination. The blue jay didn't have any wounds on it, nor did it legs look damaged. The problem was that it's feet were curled up and the toes wouldn't open beyond a grasping position. It couldn't stand up at all. The poor thing had some sort of nerve damage to it's feet.
In light of the fact that this little bird would never stand up or fly, and that it's parents had stopped feeding it, I knew it wasn't long for this world.

I tried to give it some food, and a little water, which mostly consisted of the jay trying to bite me. I kept it overnight in my cat carrier, laying out a old t-shirt for comfort. The jay settled down and seemed to rest. At least this way, it wouldn't have the horror or being stalked and attacked at night. In the morning, it seemed more rested. I tried to feed it again, and then put it in the shade near the garden. The family of jays was very curious about the little one on the ground, but wouldn't go near it. For the next few hours, the young jay fluttered around on the ground, trying to get up into a laurel bush, and then resting, worn out. As the day progressed, the jay got weaker and spent more time lying on it's side. In the early afternoon, I went to check on the jay, and it had passed away. I was sorry to see this happen, but at least it died quietly. I kept a few feathers to remind me of this little determined bird, and buried it under some leaves in the woods behind the house.

So many people think of blue jays as being noisy,nasty, marauding birds. If you have the chance to view one very close up, or with binoculars, you will see how very beautiful they are!