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The Demanding Steller's Jay

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

“What is that noise, I wondered as the loud sounds woke me up from a dead sleep? I opened my eyes and thought, are you kidding me…?’

A demanding Steller's Jay.

There was a time at the lake one year, when there were several brightly coloured Steller’s jays. In recent years, we do not seem to have as many of them, or at least, my lake sightings seem to be fewer. This one year, it seemed that we had one lively, bright- blue bird that was particularly interested in connecting with us. I assume that he thought if he hung around, looked pretty enough, and nicely chatted with us, we might take a shine to him and feed him. This particular year I had just added an item to my very popular loon theme of collectibles, I bought a bird feeder, shaped like a loon. It seemed like it was the perfect time to hang it and try it out. 

My loon bird feeder.

I filled it with some sunflower seeds, because we had quite a few of those, as my husband was in his sunflower seed nibbling fazes. We had a good supply of them and so my husband decided to share and we filled up the dish area of the bird feeder to see if the jay would like it. (I didn’t realize at the time that unsalted sunflower seeds and peanuts are this type of bird’s favourite feed.) Day 1 our whole family was delighted to watch the grateful Steller’s jay feast on the seeds. We were rather shocked at how fast he ate them, so we had to refill the dish at least once a day going forward. This routine continued for several days. It didn’t take long, though, to discover that this was a very demanding bright blue bird. As much as we were thrilled to make his acquaintance and marvel at his frequency of eating so we could admire him often, he quickly wore out his welcome. As we all lay fast asleep one morning, the demanding jay decided that the dish was out of seeds and so we were going to put some more in immediately, and that meant our sleep be damned. As we lay in bed still snoozing, we were very abruptly and loudly woken up by the jay tapping his beak on the kitchen glass window. Tap, tap, tap, hesitate, tap, tap, tap. The nerve of that bird! If we did not get up immediately and fill the dish outside, he would continue to peck his beak on the glass window until we got up to do it.  There is nowhere to hide, and no door to close, to muffle any noise in a 400-square foot, one-room cabin, period. We were hooped, or rather, the bird was putting us through hoops!  I can tell you quite inevitably, we took down the bird feeder. This noisy, demanding, all be it rather beautiful bird, was just too much for us. I admit I love my wildlife at the lake, but sometimes I would rather enjoy my peace and quiet, and observe the wildlife at a distance. We have never put up an outside bird feeder again. (Except for our hummingbird feeder). That loon bird feeder became a part of my inside cabin decor, and never got hung up outside with seeds in it again.

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