Thursday, January 23, 2014

Congregation of Blue Jays

About two or three times a year, I run into an odd gathering of Blue Jays, all fussing and calling excitedly in a small area of vegetation, with no predator apparent that could be drawing them.

Today was such an occurrence- twenty or more jays were gathered simultaneously in a small overgrown "Katrina" lot in Gentilly, just east of the London Avenue Canal.  Single shotgun size.  At one point thirteen of them were in a pair of small side-by-side tallow trees.  The mob lasted for about five minutes, then dispersed.

Jays normally move in groups of four or so birds.  I do not know what causes these larger gatherings to develop, but given their agitation/excitement, it  suggests to me that several local groups have encountered each other at mutual boundaries of their home ranges, and are asserting their supremacy by calling and posturing.  It brought to mind a scene from a Twilight movie where groups of vampires and/or wolves are growling and sneering, facing each other down.

Oh, yeah, the Katrina lot also had fifteen Yellowrumps, an Orange-crowned Warbler, two Cardinals (tough to come by in the Katrina residential flood zone), a White-throated Sparrow, and a Sapsucker- not bad for such a small space.


For a copy of Birding Made Easy-New Orleans, email me at, or look for it at area book stores.  It is now available at
Uptown:  Garden District Book Shop, Maple Street Book Shop, Octavia Books
French Quarter and Marigny:  Peach Records, Fauborg Marigny Art Books Music, Librairie Book Shop, Beckham's Bookshop, Arcadian Books and Prints, the Crabnet
Mid City:  City Park Botanical Garden, Community Book Center
Metairie:  Double M Feed on W. Esplanade
Harahan:  Double M Feed on Jefferson Hwy
North Shore:  Mandeville Chiropractic

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