Are We Getting the Blue Jays All Wrong?

These boldly colored birds are usually described in negative, highly moralistic terms. Cue up J.J. Audubon: “Who could imagine that a form so graceful, arrayed by nature in a garb so resplendent, should harbour so much mischief;–that selfishness, duplicity, and malice should form the moral accompaniments of so much physical perfection!”In my experience, they’re actually quite shy when it comes to us bipeds. They rarely get in photographic range. Half a dozen were going after this croissant, but they split six ways to Sunday when I, cautiously walking like a bird-watcher, entered their airspace, an airspace easily twice the distance of most other species in Green-Wood this time of year. These supposed bad boys don’t have a close FID — flight initiation distance, meaning how close you can get before they bolt — at all.I tried hiding behind a tombstone for these shots, about fifteen feet away. The pack didn’t return, but one or two essayed a nervous foray.Audubon seems to be having his croissant and eating it too, here, describing the Blue Jays as “rogues though they be, and thieves, as I would call them, were it fit for me to pass judgment on their actions.” (My emphasis.)

Who, by the way, losses a whole croissant in a cemetery early weekend morning?

4 Responses to “Are We Getting the Blue Jays All Wrong?”


  1. 1 Ellen February 8, 2019 at 7:40 am

    I say it must have been a really bad croissant!

  2. 2 peopleplaceswords February 8, 2019 at 10:41 am

    who threw the croissant? a Yahoo, Swift aptly characterized them in his 1726 novel “Gulliver’s Travels.” It should be noted that Swift coined the word, which denotes a foul and brutish person.

  3. 3 elwnyc February 8, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Not guilty – I would have eaten it myself.

  4. 4 Paul Lamb February 11, 2019 at 5:34 am

    I was wondering where I’d left that!


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