Peanut showed up about 2004. Now, I am not sure how this all started, but we quickly discovered this bird loved peanuts, so his name changed quickly from Jay to Peanut.
As I would be working in the garden, Peanut would come around, begging for peanuts. In order to prevent him from having to fly into 'cat territory', I started putting one shelled peanut on top of a one inch pole that was used to support the garden peas. After several attempts, dropped peanuts to the ground where the cats sat, drooling and clacking, Peanut figured out how to fly by and snatch, later developing into a hover and grab. He must have been watching the hummers? We finally saw him drop to our compost pile, lay the peanut on the ground, on its end, and proceed to poke the peanut completely into the ground, then cover up the evidence with a bit of dirt. This explained why he would not take peanuts with cracked shells! We have a good laugh to se him fly all over the neighborhood with his peanuts. You can actually see him scoop up a peanut, sit on a branch for a moment to think about where he wants to bury this one, and fly off with the huge shell in his beak. We wonder if he actually remembers where he put them all?
We progressed to the feeder house way up on a pole so there was not question of his having to dip into cat territory. Then, the water trough went up in the forest when Peanut would sit on the head of David's welded statues and scream until I finally came out with a peanut. Peanut would fly to my head (on my statue) just two feet away from the Dave state, wait for a peanut to be placed on 'Dave's head' and immediately scoop it up. He flies away, hollering 'Thank you!" Now, it has become a three o'clock in the afternoon ritual. When it is particulalry hot, Peanut will appear, beak open, and wait for me to hold up a gentle spray from the hose to cool him down.
Then, another tray hanging from the tree oustide the kitchen window when Peanut would show up there, hollering. He is cocky, and smart. He will watch as a cat climbs into the tree he is perched on, but seems to be smart enough to realize the cat can't possibly reach him on his tiny branch. Yet, I have had to literally chase him away when he failed to fly when I truly felt he was within serious danger levels.
Visitors are often amused to be eating or sitting around chatting on the decks, only to have a rather large, scruffy blue jay come perch within a few feet and scream. Mrs. P will be around somewhere, but always supervising from afar, allowing her devoted, hard working husband to do the gathering and hiding. She watches Peanut and my placement of peanuts regularly, but never has developed the trust that Peanut has, to take a peanut when I am only a few inches away. Once, and only once, has Peanut taken a peanut from my hand. I was thrilled, literally squealing with delight and looked over to see David grinning and laughing.
In 2007, I was spraying fown the forest in 100 plus heat, looked up and saw my blue jay. Wait, no, something is different. Funny neck. No tail. Omg, its a BABY! We have a baby!!!! You might have thought we hatched the eggs ourselves, we were so excited. All the mockingbirds in the area have yet to see their babies fly away, we have yet to discover why the babies are always found below the nests, without feathers, in tact, and dead of broken necks. We were incredibly relieved to see that we had two babies, old enough to perch and hop from branch to branch while their doting parents worked day and night to bring them food. It explained Peanut's new behaviour towards my cats: constant harrassment all over the yard, even to the point of dive bombing a cat and coming away with cat fur in his beak. We watched eagerly for two weeks while the babies were fed, but breathed a sigh of relief to see them leave the close tree and venture further out to live in the tall Eucalyptus trees in the back fourty. We don't see the babies very often, but its nice to know they are around, somewhere.
Hummingbird nest 2002
Hummingbird nest 2003
Hummingbird nest 2004
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