Tag Archives: grey jay

Nutcracker Wars Continue

warring nutcrackerThe Clarke’s Nutcracker wars continue.  There are two wars: I am warring with him, and he is warring with himself.

After the last post a couple of people wrote, and a website  said, that such territorial behaviour by birds can be diverted from a window by providing a mirror.  So I stapled a black garbage bag behind an old window and hung his favourite food, the suet feeder, in front of it.He eventually pecked at it a bit, but still preferred the windows of my house.He became extremely annoying.  Every time he banged, Badger was frightened and he went into the unheated outer room and hid under the attic stairs.  As the bird started before sunrise and continued to after sundown, this meant the poor dog was hardly ever in the warm room – and it was mostly pretty cold this month.Mosquito screening on the skylight of the bay window helped (see previous post) and I eventually hung it on all his favourite windows – fortunately, I had a big roll of screening.The nutcracker noise was muted, but it didn’t stop him.  Now he was able to grip the screening with his feet.

His favourite activity was to sit on the bird feeder then launch himself at the nearest greenhouse window.  He thumped against it with monotonous regularity, a hit every 3 seconds.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  I was working a lot on the computer at the time and it was driving me crazy.  (Now I know why they are called nutcrackers.  They are crackers and they drive me nuts!)

I was reluctant to put thicker coverings over these windows as I did not want to drive the bird onto the few windows still unscreened, and I wanted to be able to look out of the window and get light in.  I wouldn’t have had enough screen for that anyway.  But finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and I hung a blanket up over his favourite target.He was annoyed about that.  He did try a few uncovered windows but finally he found the attic.  In the above photo you can just make out him and his reflection at the glass beside the satellite internet dish.

The noise is certainly reduced so I guess I can live with that.  His attacks are also more scattered now and there are gaps in the day when he quits.  He has been doing this for a month.

His love affair with the attic window meant he did not hog the feeder and the chickadees were able to come back.Chickadees hang about together – they are either all in the vicinity of the feeder or all away – but they are not good buddies.  Rarely do you see two birds at once on the tray.  Instead they dart in, take a seed, and dart away. They eat the seed on a nearby branch.  The next in line whizzes in and gets his treat.mountain chickadeeThe little downy woodpecker still visits frequently, too.  I have seen only one – I suspect it is a male as the colour behind his head is very bright.downy woodpeckerOther regular visitors are three grey jays or whiskeyjacks.  This one spent a frosty night somewhere.  He must have got wet before he went to bed.grey jay or whiskeyjackI kept two panels of the bay window free of netting but it was still not always easy to get a good line of sight at what was on the feeder.  One morning there was an unidentifiable lump made even more mysterious as I photographed it through the screen.  It was barely light, and difficult to see what it was.  It was too small for a squirrel, and it would in any case have been very unusual for a squirrel to be about this early in the day when it was so cold.  (It was -25C that morning.)Adjusting the camera for the very poor light, I crept onto the deck.  sawwhet owlIt’s a sawwhet owl.  I wondered if it had hit the window and was dazed, but I hadn’t heard it collide and it was too early for the nutcracker to be banging.  Then a dog followed me onto the deck.  At once the owl became alert – and flew away.sawwhet owl