Nature, Red in Tooth and Fluffy Tails

Kunk Fu Zoby Kung Fu Zu4/17/15
“I am sitting at my desk watching a pair of blue jays build a nest in the tree which grows outside my window. The sky is overcast and I can hear heavy thunder in the distance. I ask myself, why would the Creator of this universe need me to worship him? Do I care if ants think about me? And the distance between me and ants is as nothing compared to gap between the Creator and me.”- A Thought, Kung Fu Zu

Since writing the above, I have continued to observe the Blue Jays residing in the tree outside my window.

The pattern of their lives is clear. The female will nestle down in her nest keeping her egg warm and safe. The male will fly hither and yon to return with some bit of food for the female. Every now and then, the female will spring out of the nest, bounce over a couple of branches and take off for points unknown. Within a short span of time, she will return to again settle upon the nest protecting her future offspring.  There are small variations on this theme, which makes watching them more interesting.[pullquote]Furthermore, I think squirrels are basically rats with fluffy tails so I  am philosophically against them in any case.[/pullquote]

A couple of days ago, two squirrels came off the roof into the tree branches. The Blue Jays flew into action, attacking both squirrels without quarter. The squirrels retreated after a few seconds. They regrouped and again commenced their raid. This time, one squirrel advanced from the roof and the other from the base of the tree. The Blue Jays were ready for this and, once more, beat off the scurrilous squirrels who had to give up the assault.

Sitting back in my chair, it occurred to me that I had been an observer of nature in an intimate setting. And what I had seen was not sweetness-and-light.

Having watched the Jays for several days, I had become somewhat attached to them and was glad they were able to beat off the squirrels. Furthermore, I think squirrels are basically rats with fluffy tails so I am philosophically against them in any case.  Therefore, in order to help my Jays, I decided to have the tree branches next to my roof trimmed.

Today, the gardener came by and gave my wife a quote.  A few minutes after this, I heard a racket outside my window. I looked up and there was a single squirrel making his way to the nest. The two Jays jumped the squirrel from different sides. The squirrel kept going. Another Jay flew in from who-knows-where in order to aid his feathered cousins. The squirrel was implacable. I jumped out of my chair, ran to the front door, and grabbed my umbrella. Racing outside, I poked the umbrella at the squirrel who then withdrew. The Jays were throwing a fit and directed their ire at me once the squirrel had retreated.

I went back inside to let the Jays calm down and watch how things would develop. All three Jays kept up their racket. Jumping from one branch to another, they were still exited. The female Jay stayed near the nest, while the other two occupied branches some feet distant.

In a minute or so, the first Jay flew off. Shortly thereafter, the second Jay departed. Finally, the mother gave the nest a last look and shot off to the north.

This did not seem very encouraging, so I went back outside and pulled down the limbs on which the nest rested.  Inside, I saw a small bluish-green egg with brownish spots. It had been torn open and I could see no sign of the baby bird. I let go the branches and returned to my office.

As yet, the Jays have not returned and I have small hope that they will. This saddens me as I have become fascinated with them and their ways.

There is, however, one consolation. I have a pellet gun and will go squirrel hunting over the next few days.

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18 Responses to Nature, Red in Tooth and Fluffy Tails

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A marvelous slice-of-jungle story, Mr. Kung. Like you, I would be rooting for the Blue Jays. I hear that squirrel meat tastes like chicken. 😀

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I hear that squirrel meat tastes like chicken.

      Don’t know. My father did tell me, that as a child, he would go squirrel hunting some mornings in Oklahoma. Apparently, squirrel meat is not bad if cooked in milk gravy and poured over biscuits for breakfast.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Be sure to invite Mr. and Mrs. Jay to view from a perch if you do sup in the above manner.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        My father did some hunting when I was young (I remember once when he got a ticket near Alvin, Texas — it was just us males in the car — coming back from such a trip). But I don’t remember what he shot, except that I have a vague memory of eating venison (which was quite tasty, though preparation may have been a large part of that).

    • ronlsb says:

      I ate it a lot as a kid at my grandmother’s house on a farm in East Texas. My best guess is that it is similar to dark chicken meat–quite tasty as I remember, at least when my grandma cooked it.

  2. Jerry Richardson says:

    KFZ,

    There is, however, one consolation. I have a pellet gun and will go squirrel hunting over the next few days.
    —KFZ

    I’m glad there are a few other squirrel hunters left. Squirrel hunting was my favorite hunting as a boy growing-up. I hunted them mostly with a .22 rifle (using long-rifle cartridges); although occasionally I would borrow my dad’s pump 12-gauge shotgun. It did not have a plug so I could put 6 shells in the magazine and 1 in the chamber and go hunting without carrying extra shells in my pockets. Ad hoc hunting as a boy meant without dogs; so it was still-hunting. This meant you had to find a likely place for squirrels to appear and stay very quite and motionless so as to get a shot. Difficult, but good training in staying quite and still when needed.

    People who are appalled today at “free-range kids” will no doubt freak-out at the thoughts of a early-teen-age boy rambling-off by himself in large woods or swamp carrying a loaded gun. 🙁 🙂

    P.S. I enjoy your stories.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One song that features a stanza dealing with squirrel-hunting is “Shotgun Boogie”. I have a version by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Thanks Jerry. As to squirrel hunting, I am within a city thus cannot use a .22 caliber. Otherwise, I would use that or a .410 loaded with bird shot.

  3. Rosalys says:

    The squirrels would wreck havoc with my Dad’s garden, so my brother went out back and started shooting. He got one right in the head, in one side and out the other. Their brains are so tiny that the bullet missed! Stunned briefly, the squirrel returned to his destruction.

    • Jerry Richardson says:

      Rosalys,

      The squirrels would wreck havoc with my Dad’s garden, so my brother went out back and started shooting
      —Rosalys

      Crows used to play that roll with our corn and truck-patch stuff and so Daddy gave me his blessings to shoot them.

      However, crows were the most difficult birds I ever tried to hunt. They are so smart, and work in groups, and always have look-outs so it is very difficult to sneak-up on one.

      Any shots you get are invariably long-ones usually at one perched on top of a tree. I had very little success, only occasionally—our attempts at scarecrows also seemed to do little good; it was like the crows quickly recognized that they weren’t really human.

      My results were something like; Score: Crows:50; Jerry 2—blowout for the crows—even though I did get much practice in stalk-and-shoot minus the shoot.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I just opened my blinds and looked out my window and there, big as life, was a squirrel sitting in the Blue Jays’ nest mentioned in this piece. Bloody cheek!!!

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    Larry Provost has an article today on TownHall that is relevant to your article. He discusses his youthful liberalism, and describes how this was reversed when he saw one of the birds nesting on his property — and how one of her eggs had been partially eaten by a squirrel. He was able to see that if there was something wrong with the squirrel killing an unborn bird, then there had to be something at least as wrong with an abortionist killing an unborn human baby. The link is:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/larryprovost/2015/05/22/confessions-of-a-former-liberal-animal-welfare-and-becoming-pro-life-n2002185

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Spring is back with us. Today while looking out my window, I saw a cardinal and his mate alight on the branches of the tree outside. They are such beautiful birds.

    Earlier this morning a dove, I believe it was a Mourning Dove, flew into my tree and proceeded to practice its special coo. It would puff up its neck and choo choo choo, choo choo choo came forth. The bird flitted from branch to branch for something like ten minutes, cooing all the time.

    The cycle begins again.

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    While sitting at my desk, I happened to look up and was surprised to see a fairly good sized bird of prey perched in the tree just outside my window.

    Standing on a branch, it was about 18 inches tall. It had a short, sharp beak and a somewhat tawny plumage. The head was somewhat blocky, (a little like the Maltese Falcon’s) not rounded like a bald eagle’s. After jumping from branch to branch, the bird decided to depart.

    I have never been so close to a raptor (less than ten feet) and it was wonderful to see one up-close.

  8. Lucia says:

    The raptor you described sounds to me like a goshawk, which preys on birds. I leave plenty of thick bushes in my yard for the little birds that feed on the seed I provide near my front porch so they can hide from the goshawk. My dog also kicks up a fuss when the hawk is swooping through the yard. I try to chase it off when I see it.

    The jays would’ve probably laid another clutch of eggs in that same nest if humans hadn’t gotten close to the nest to trim the branches. Most birds try to raise 2 sets of babies each year anyway. Before you feel too sorry for the Jays, remember that they also eat eggs and baby birds.

    We have a multitude of wildlife in our area, bears, cougars, deer, elk, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, turkeys, buzzards, hawks of several types, but I still am in awe of their beauty and wildness every time I see one of them. I feel so blessed to live in an area that most people can only visit once a year on vacation.

  9. Lucia says:

    I keep a reference book on birds handy but I’m often stumped anyway.

    Speaking of which, a hawk just took off from my yard with a hapless dove in his claws. No warning, no squawks, no peeps, just a flurry of feathers and away they went.

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