Sunday, May 27, 2012

Of the five young Scrub-Jays that hatched, only two remain in the nest. I don't know what happened to the other three. These two are spending a lot of time on the edge of the nest, and just today started climbing around in the vines out of view from the camera.
Brother is somewhere up there, and any second now, will drop down into the nest..

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Young Scrub-Jay standing

"Look, Mom. I'm standing up."
"And I can almost jump!"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Baby Scrub-Jays turning blue

Nice color is beginning to show in the plumage of the Western Scrub-Jay nestlings. But some of the original five seem to be missing, or maybe just completely covered by the larger siblings.
The growing chicks are very energetic, often climbing on top of each other, stretching and picking at their new feathers as if they are itchy. But they have already been "potty-trained," raising their little "behinds" over the edge of the nest after being fed, and producing a neat fecal sac for the waiting parent to catch and carry away.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scrub-Jay nest activity

The biggest of the Western Scrub-Jay nestlings is getting "rambunctious." Today he was up and teetering on the edge of the nest, and clambering over the backs of his siblings.

The parents are getting busier trying to keep up with the demand for food, and also keeping the nest clean. In the photo below the adult has just waited and watched for one of the young to produce a fecal sac, and then picked it up to take it for disposal somewhere away from the nest. So far the nest is staying remarkably clean.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Scrub-Jay rapid changes

Suddenly, within about 48 hours, there are open eyes, fuzzy feathers and squeaky voices in the Western Scrub-Jay nest.

But the female still spends a lot of time covering the young birds, even though they don't always seem to want it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scrub-Jay feathers emerging

The nestling Western Scrub-Jays now are about 12 days old. These photos, taken yesterday, May 15, show that feathers are just beginning to emerge, but eyes are not open yet.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's day in a Scrub-Jay nest

The baby Scrub-Jays are growing fast, and showing signs of feathers developing under the skin. They are eating a lot, and always ready for more. No eyes open yet.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scrub-Jays growing fast

Mom and dad Western Scrub-Jays are bringing in a lot of food for these babies, but shortly after a feeding they are ready for more. Mom still spends most of her time keeping them warm, while dad does the hunting. And as much as I sometimes "disapprove" of this species' predatory ways (such as killing the young Chickadees as they emerged from a nestbox), I can't help but appreciate their brilliant colors and intelligent behavior.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Male Scrub-Jay defending nest

This evening I set up a step-ladder so I could take a photo of the Scrub-Jay nestlings. Mom left the nest with one alarm call, and Dad was there in a second. And he was not about to back down, even when my camera was 8 inches from the end of his beak. So I didn't push it, but did get a photo of what I think are five chicks. Two eggs must not have hatched.

Western Scrub-Jay lunchtime

At noon today I confirmed visually that the male Scrub-Jay has now started to feed the young directly, although he first gave some items to the female and watched while she passed them down to the babies. Then he responded to the uplifted heads by feeding one of them himself.

Scrub-Jay feeding time

This morning at about 7:30 the male brought something to the nest, handed it off to the female, and she distributed it to two or three little ones. I have not yet clearly seen the male giving food directly to one of the babies.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Activity at the Scrub-Jay nest

Now that there are chicks in the nest, the male is delivering food to the female, and she then feeds the young. I expect that he will eventually begin feeding them, too, but... we'll see.
But once I saw him come to the nest (below) apparently without food, and the female hopped up onto the side of the nest while he appeared to be inspecting the babies.

On other occasions the female has departed leaving the nest apparently unattended, but soon the male shows up and stands guard (below) until she returns. So far I have not seen him actually cover the young birds with his own body.

Western Scrub-Jay nestling

I saw the first sign of eggs hatching yesterday, May 4. Today there are at least two little heads occasionally visible when the female takes one of her short breaks from covering them and the remaining eggs.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Western Scrub-Jay on eggs

The Western Scrub-Jays nesting in my Jasmine vine are very attentive to the seven eggs (see photo below), and never leave them uncovered for more than a few minutes at a time. Today I noticed the male coming to the nest to feed the female something, and one time stood on guard while she took a short break from incubating.