Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nature Notes: Tweet


So there I was, enjoying the comforts of my ... er ... bathroom, when something somewhere chirped. One note, musical, but somehow alarming. And I didn't recognize it. A couple of minutes later, another chirp confirmed the worst: The house is broken.

Time to hitch up my big girl pants and go find out what's about to explode. I started with the serious stuff: carbon monoxide alarm; radon alarm; sump pump failure; well pump failure; furnace. Nada. But whatever it was was still chirping, and I couldn't quite locate where it was coming from.

Moving on, I checked the fire alarms for dead battery warnings; phones off the hook; the door ajar alarm on the fridge; and finally the new coffee pot. Which is near the kitchen window, which is directly under the aforementioned bathroom.

And that's when I found the culprit. It was, of all things, a blue jay. He was perched on the shepherd's hook that held the feeder before the Squirrel Wars began. And he was chirping. Just the one note, and a pretty one, in fairly regular intervals. I had never heard a jay make any sound but a raucous, crow-like call.

I had to laugh, surprised, relieved and delighted all at once.

Song Sung Blue

In other news, We are up to three squirrels, a rabbit, and at least one mouse around the bird feeder. I'm waiting for deer to show up. The raccoons must be hibernating.

AND there is a blizzard warning tonight. I will go in to work, but it's supposed to start while I'm there, so getting home again at midnight could be a project. If I make it back tonight, I'll let you know how it went.

P.S. 11:42 pm. I didn't make it home. Got stuck in a snow bank on the way home, but some nice guys in a pickup stopped and pulled me out with a tow rope. I'm crashing at my son's house for the night.

When they said "blizzard" I had no idea how bad that really was going to be. Howling wind drove icy snow so hard you couldn't see 15 feet away, and the roads were so drifted you couldn't even see where they were. I have to admit, I was scared.

I had stocked the car with a comforter, water, food, boots, and sundries just in case this happened and I had to spend the night in the car. The one thing I forgot was the one thing I really needed - a shovel.

Anyway, I'm OK. Glad to be safe and warm, and grateful for those angels who stopped in the storm to help me out.

Click here to visit Michelle's site and see more Nature Notes.


Rambling Woods said...

I haven't even done my NN post yet, but you gave me an idea I think. Jays can make many sounds.. one that sounds like a rusty hinge...I had to laugh at your thinking something in the house went... thanks for feeding the birds..I think a lot of animals are going to die in areas that don't usually get so cold and so much snow....

Thyra said...

That little blue jay is absolutely beautiful. What fantastic blue shades.

I'm sorry to say that I think it's funny that you forgot to bring a shovel, and I couldn't help laughing, sorry! But I can tell you that this is exactly what would happen to me too!

Grethe ´)

Jedediah said...

The jay photos are beautiful, really great details and sharpness. Maybe the jay was imitating another bird's call? I heard a song thrush last year that imitated at least 20 birds that I could identify and I once heard a blackbird imitating a siren.

A piece of news said...

Those photos are really stunning. I'm so glad you didn't have to spend the night in the car. It was dangerous in that blizzard.derses

srp said...

I've never heard that nice chirping you describe just the high pitched scream that drives all the little birds away. Great shots!

Carver said...

Gosh, I'm glad someone stopped and helped you and that you are safe. I love these photographs of the blue jay. They are really fantastic. You captured its personality.

jo said...

Hiya Vicki,
What adorable photos of the adorable little blue birdie. Never known a jay to look so cute. Your magic touch.
And what an adventurous life you lead out there in the depths of Winter.
Would you have been able to achieve anything much if you had had that shovel?
Much better to look helpless in severe situations.
I was just recalling a similar state of anxiety in upstate NY years back: The car stalled one night in darkest January: this meant I had to get a hammer out of the trunk and open the bonnet and hit the distributer back into life.
On a steep hill, with chains, and me being seven months pregnant, alone. I wasn't even that fazed, but do still remember the annoyance :-)

EG Wow said...

Outstanding shots of the blue jay! I'm glad the jay called you so you could take its picture.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, I'll have to look into jay sounds; I've only ever heard the one, until now.

Thyra, it is pretty ironic that I left the shovel. Duh, huh? And yes, the jays here are gorgeously blue.

Jed, thanks! I took those through the kitchen window with the telephoto zoomed to the max, so I was surprised they turned out as well as they did. I'll bet that song thrush was quite an experience. 20 birds ... wow.

MyMaracas said...

News, Carver and srp, I'm glad you liked the photos! I'm glad somebody stopped, too. It was the first time I ever really felt in danger from a storm.

Jo, he does look pretty cute in the photos, doesn't he? I know jays can be a nuisance, but I like mine. About the shovel - I'm not sure if I could have dug myself out or not. But the helpless thing worked out well, so I think you're onto something. Though it sounds like you can hold your own in an emergency. ;-)

EG, maybe that's what that call means! "I'm ready for my closeup!" LOL

Marvin said...

Awesome photos of the jay. I too am more familiar with blue jays as the source of mostly raucous chatter, plus some bellicose attempts at mimicry. Glad you were able to spend the night as a place warmer and more comfortable than your vehicle.

Sallyacious said...

Oh. Man. You were out in THAT? I'm so glad you got rescued quickly and made it to someplace warm and safe. I experienced most of that storm from indoors, and was happy to do it that way.

I love the jay pictures. He's beautiful, and you've captured a personality there.

Susan said...

I cannot stop by and not comment on those beautiful blue jay photos!!!! They really are stunning! Thank you for sharing such lovely photos and I'm glad you're okay!

MyMaracas said...

Marvin, thanks. Jays can be a bit rowdy, can't they. I didn't know they were mimics - maybe that's what it was doing.

Sally, looking out from a window, it didn't look nearly as bad as was. But out where the wind could blow unimpeded across fields, it was impressive.

Susan, thanks! And thanks for the follow, too!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what stunning photos of the blue jay, what a handsome bird