Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gray Jay

Every so often, a Canada jay appears at the plum tree in front of my house. These are also called gray jays and by old-time woodsmen, “gobbeys.”

Since gray jays are birds of the northern conifer forest, it is unusual for me to see one here in Mid-Coast Maine. But when it happens, I’m delighted. Here’s why.

Gray jays are charming, friendly little birds and will quickly warm to humans. In fact, they once followed logging crews in order to secure handouts in the form of table scraps and other treats.

But as social and outgoing as they are, gray jays do not frequent developed areas to any great degree. In fact, they are in my mind, the essence of wilderness.

So when a gray jay appears at my place, it tells me that despite encroachment by new people moving in and new houses going up, I still live in a place that is wild enough to suit a gobbey. And that knowledge tickles the heck out of me.

By the way, Robert wonders if I got lost looking for ground ivy. Well, I must admit that the snow is way deep, so I haven't yet done my "shovel foraging." I will soon, honest. Tom

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