Friday, October 18, 2013

Blue Jays

Dee and I are fond of Blue Jays. We like to watch them as they collect acorns from our lawn or, as here, they collect peanuts that we put out on our backyard fence.

They're fun, too, when they stretch out on the fence in the summer heat.

Mark Twain must have enjoyed watching Blue Jays also, or else he couldn't have written about them with such insight in his story "What Stumped the Bluejays".

"There's more to a bluejay than any other creature. He has got more moods, and more different kinds of feelings than other creatures; and mind you, whatever a bluejay feels, he can put into language. And no mere commonplace language, either, but rattling, out-and-out book talk - and bristling with metaphor, too - just bristling! And as for command of language - why you never see a bluejay stuck for a word. No man ever did. They just boil out of him! And another thing: I've noticed a good deal, and there's no bird, or cow, or anything that uses as good grammar as a bluejay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does - but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you'll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they use. Now I've never heard a jay use bad grammar but very seldom; and when they do, they're as ashamed as a human; they shut right down and leave.

You may call a jay a bird. Well, so he is, in a measure - because he's got feathers on him, and don't belong to no church, perhaps; but otherwise he is just as much a human as you be. And I'll tell you for why. A jay's gifts, and instincts, and feelings, and interests, cover the whole ground.A jay hasn't got any more principle than a congressman. A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. The sacredness of an obligation is a thing which you can't cram into no bluejay's head. Now, on top of all this, there's another thing; a jay can outswear any gentleman in the mines. You think a cat can swear. Well, a cat can; but you give a bluejay a subject that calls for his reserve powers, and where is your cat! Don't talk to me - I know too much about this thing. And there's yet another thing; in the one little particular of scolding- just good, clean, out-and-out scolding - a bluejay can lay over anything, human or divine. Yes, sir, a jay is everything that a man is. A jay can cry, a jay can laugh, a jay can feel shame, a jay can reason and plan and discuss, a jay likes gossip and scandal, a jay has got a sense of humor, a jay knows when he is an ass just as well as you do - maybe better. If a jay ain't human, he better take in his sign, that's all."   


JosephAlsarraf said...

I like blue jays too! We get some random visits from them every once in awhile. I never hear them speak, but I enjoy the different expressions that I get from them.

Dorothy Borders said...

They are particularly eloquent when there is a hawk or owl in the area!

Jeff said...

They're certainly very expressive and eloquent birds. I've also noticed that they can imitate the calls of several hawk species; for example, the ones in our street do perfect imitations of Red-shouldered Hawks.