27 June 2005

Bye, Bye Baby Buntings

I scared the bejeesus out of some poor birds, yesterday. I walked into the bedroom and it sounded as if something was being mauled in the rhododendrons, so I peeked out the window and there was an enormous blue jay flapping it's wings and carrying on. It flew off when it saw me, but some of the noise continued. I then realized that part of the interior shrub wasn't shrub at all but two or three fuzzy looking blue birds. Of course, before I could get a good look at them, they also flew off.

At the time, I presumed I had seen a blue jay with it's fledglings, and that's what I've been telling people, but I think I was wrong. I looked blue jays up at work and the fledglings look just like the adults. They do not resemble the round blue balls of fluffy feathers I saw. Indeed, the birds I saw inside the rhododendron resemble male Indigo Buntings more than anything else.

According to my Birds of Connecticut field guide, jays will eat other birds' eggs or young offspring so I carefully checked the shrub for a nest -- in case what I had seen was a little neighborly raid -- but could find no nest. So why the jay? And why three male buntings (if buntings they be) in the same shrub?

It is all a great mystery to me.