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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I found Scub Jay what do I do? by Tim Rumford

If you find a bird and want some advice -- please post it as a question here, so everyone can learn and teach along the way. You do not need to be a member of Blogspot to post comments.

I want to thank everyone for the many e-mails I have received. With spring upon us, many people are writing in asking for information on what to do with a Scrub Jay after they have rescued one. When I found Blue, he was only a day old. Age is important in deciding what you should do, and what to decide.

I will be posting a diet for different aged birds that will be available as a permanent link soon.

First off, people need to know that if a bird can fly and it is just stunned. Keep it in a dark padded box for ten minutes. They almost allays wake up and fly away unharmed. If the bird can fly and has only minor injuries, do not associate with it on a social level as much as possible as it heals. Do not even let it see you if you can. Do not talk to it until you know if your keeping this bird. Wear gloves when feeding it. They imprint and bond to people at very quickly. They cannot be released once in your care for long. They will smell and sound wrong and the other jays will kill it.

If the bird has any serious injuries, call animal rescue. In many cases, there are good local non-profits or collages with agencies that will take the bird. The have the knowledge and resources to care for it and release it.

In some cases, they will allow you to keep it after it has healed if they feel you will take care of it and it cannot be released. It is illegal in California to keep a Scrub Jay without permission. Although sometimes right is right, law or not.

Deciding to keep Scrub Jay or a Crow or any intelligent bird is something someone should not make in hast. Make sure your going to give it a happy life. A sad caged bird is the horrible site. You cannot just put food in its cage and leave for the day. These are extremely social birds. Scrub Jays are in the Crow family. To keep one means a possible 12-year or longer commitment of spending hours a day with your bird. Talking, feeding, cleaning up after it and just paying constant attention to your companion will be a part of daily life. Blue spent 6 hours out of his cage a day minimum. Two hours were spent just playing. If you work all day, you are probably not a good candidate for having a Scrub Jay. Passing it off to someone else after it thinks you are its parent is a gamble. It may not even survive. The trauma and stress alone could kill it.

However, sometimes strange things happen. One person who wrote in has a shared custody of sorts. They let the bird go after a few days of healing up, it flew to its family, and it returns every night to sleep and eat. They have good intentions and I think all will work out with this arrangement. Another person really took the time and made the perfect decision. She took it to a rescue agency and after the bird has healed, it will come home with her. She can visit daily to keep the bond going. She has the time and understands the responsibility.

I will be posting some pictures and video of these new pen pals of Blues. It will be interesting to see how their behavior differs.

I want to comprise a list of any rescue agency that accepts Scrub Jays in California and any information on their reputation. If you know of a good or bad agency please post it here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Down to seeds and stems

This is one the better videos of Blue and his environment and behavior, set to music by my old band Wild Rose. The song is "Down to Seeds and Stems" I am singing and playing guitar. Please let us know what you think. Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Adusted to his new pad, Blue does his amazing Song and Dance

The video of his dance and song at the bottom of this post is a show of affection. He is also a showing off. Blue does this when he is very happy. Today I caught him flapping his wings like a baby, and softly singing to himself - content that the sun was shining into his cage. Blue comes in and out of his cage at will when we are home and alert. I learned years ago that wiggling my fingers or sometimes making a certain sound would trigger Blue into this song and dance. It starts with his head bobbing back and forth. He can be triggered by excitement too, like the presence of a tasty treat, it may trigger the dance, and he forgets all about the food. Bobbing can also be sign of stress, but Blue will never do this if he stressed in the least.

He loves to be touched, but more so when he dances. He does cuddle, even enjoys a kiss to his side, but he does not like people touching him unless he is unusually calm and happy as in this picture. It was right after his dance. He only does this dance for Katie and I. After a solid year of spending hours a day with Blue, he sings and dances for her too. Katie cares for Blue a great deal, both emotionally and physically. Each morning he rides around with her as she tends the cages and feeds everyone. Blue very much enjoys this time with her each morning. These birds are very much into a daily routine. She plays a huge role in his care and constant need for attention.

Blue is regaining his flight feathers now that his sight has been restored. He is testing the waters and getting braver as each day comes. There was a time when Blue could pick a dime from my hand without touching my fingers. Flying through the house with ease, he loved to hide my keys, shred my morning paper and be an acrobat. Blue is very jealous on inanimate objects. The phone, the keyboard, a book, anything that takes the attention off him -- he is constantly at battle with. Since I am disabled and work at home, Blue gets attention most of his waking hours.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Moving is stressful for birds too. E-mails pour in for advice.

We recently moved, and once again, Blue had to readjust to a new environment. This is always hard on him. It took a full month for him to return to his old self. Now he loves his new place. Blue is getting his flight feathers back and soon will be flying again. I quickly realized moving was much harder on Blue then it was on us, and it was no picnic for anyone.

Blue became frightened for awhile of new noises, new lighting and just all the hustle and bustle of packing. He now enjoys this place immensely and certainly sucked all the extra attention he could get from us. We also have finches and canaries, it seemed as if they did not even notice the move. They do enjoy the extra sunlight we get here.
Blue also has friends. This is Stevie Ray Vaughn and Tina Turner. They often mimic Blue, bathing and grooming at the same time.

I have received a multitude of e-mails from people who have rescued Scrub Jays here in California. If you are in Florida, remember, they are nearly extinct and the state bird to boot. You must call animal rescue immediately.

I have always felt it is wrong to cage or domesticate any wild animal unless it cannot fend for himself and will die if you release him. Two of the people who e-mailed me were in that position. I will be posting video of a young bird feeding soon. Nessa took the time and made the right decision. She took her baby to animal rescue. They will give it back to her once it is healed up, as the bird cannot be released. She can visit and feed it everyday so it will still bond with her. It had a problem with one of its legs. I will be posting extensively on its journey from a baby to an adult with her help.

I will be posting some thing people should know and do when they find a bird in need of rescue. In the mean time, please e-mail me if you find yourself with a Scrub Jay in need of help.