I went for my walk through the woods today to get exercise and to visit my little blue bird friends. The area I walk used to have three separate scrub-jay groups but now it has just two. Two family groups combined into one and may have lost a member or two.
Today I witnessed something which occurs quite often out there. The group of five infringed upon the group of two’s territory. The female alarm went off and the male gave chase after the invaders. Usually it is a half-hearted chase but today it was a real fast attack. The group screeches and the multiple members of the larger group surrounded the area.
The battle was over as quickly as it began. The large group eventually made their way back to their general area.
The scrub-jay is a species where the males and females all basically look the same and it is hard to even tell the difference between individuals. But, just like the parents of twins can tell them apart, because they spend so much time with them, I can pick up on the subtle differences in many of the birds.
The easiest bird to identify is “Broken Thumb”. He literally has a finger that was broken somehow and has fixed itself in a permanently backward position.
The male from the breeding pair group of two is the fastest most agile bird in the park. I can tell when he is approaching because he wings flap just a little bit faster and his movement are just a tiny bit more sudden.
The territorial thing happens daily and is a way for the birds to constantly test the limits of their own territory. I imagine sometimes they may be able to take some area from one another but Scrub Jays don’t like claiming too big of an area. Many of them will stay put in the same basic 100 square yards their entire life, not to say that they don’t explore outside of it. Rather, they patrol, sleep, eat and stash food in the same basic area for most of their lives, which in the wild is 5 or 6 years long on average.