Saturday, June 18, 2016

Birds: Steller's Jay

We like national parks. It's one of the things we do--we go out to national parks and camp and hike and touch beautiful places.

We learned what bears you can thwart by locking the tonneau on the truck (black bears in the Smokies) and which ones we should be completely terrified of and never eat or smell like anything again (this lesson was learned in Yosemite, where we had to watch a video of bears breaking into cars before we were allowed to stay in a cabin).

We have seen bison in Yellowstone and wolves there, too. We've run into sadly tame deer all over the west, and seen those elusive black bears in the Smokies. I don't go to national parks just to see wildlife, but when I do, I'm always happy (well, except the time I was on a trail at the beginning of dusk with my inlaws in the Smokies and I spotted a couple of those black bears on an intersecting path...).

This bird is one we met out west. We met it in California and in mountain states. Georg Wilhelm Steller is their namesake. One of those few birds who get proper names (Bachman's Warbler, Cooper's Hawk, Cory's Shearwater, etc).

Looks a bit like a blue jay, if a blue jay put on a dark hoodie and robbed you.

They are smart birds. They love picnics. They are out to get you. They will mug you for your sandwich and leave you shocked and horrified at their brilliance and speed.

They work together. They triangulate. I swear if they had thumbs, we'd be in trouble. They are smart and they fly. And they are unhappy that our snacks are in our hands and not in their beaks.

I like them intensely, of course.

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