Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bird With the Broken Leg

One of my fledgling Blue Jay friends showed up at breakfast yesterday dragging her right leg. Then her sibling chased her away from the food and she limped and fluttered away and spent the morning hiding out in one of my shrubs.

In the warm afternoon, I went outside to the table where I sometimes leave bird food for the Jays. She fluttered over and ate as if she were really hungry. Then she perched on the nearby bench. 

She finally got so tired trying to stand with her right leg dragging and she flew down to the grass and huddled in a ball there. Birds know that isn't a safe thing to do with predators around, but she must have been exhausted at this point.  She did stay alert to threats, and she was eating and drinking from time to time.

Look carefully and you'll see my Jay friend under the wooden bench.

She stayed there for quite awhile, until the shade moved.  Then she flew over to the fence. That is where I saw her last. Very wobbly, trying to keep her balance on one leg.

The last sighting of the Jay with the broken leg.

In the early evening I went out looking for her and saw another Jay, hopping around, flying around--it had two good legs--calling and yak-yak-yaking. Then she came and sat on the bench near me and made Jay sounds I'd never heard. Like a mother bird talking softly to a baby. She made a bubbling little song from her throat. Like a love song--or a song of mourning.

But the bird with the broken leg didn't appear and after resuming her very loud Jay calling, calling from various places all over the yard, the other Jay finally flew off.

I'm waiting this morning to find out the "rest of the story." There isn't much I can do, but go outside with a little food, and cross my fingers. 

I hope she makes it. I've gotten kind of used to her.

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1 comment:

Don Smythe said...

I hadn't been a fan of blue jays for quite some time: I had come to think of them as bullies of the feeders. This winter I noticed one at the table feeder whose leg was flopping grotesquely. It must have been in awful pain. I would place suet cakes on the elevated table--it would rest its bad side on a cake and eat from another. After awhile its leg grew stiff and jutted out to one side. I had hoped that the break had healed. I live in Minnesota and he lived through.some horrible cold snaps--injured before Christmas, appearing to be getting better through February--but then he ceased coming to feed. I was surprised how much I had come to care for that stupid bird. I keep remembering him trying to fend off some starlings early on, after he first appeared.with his broken leg: he gave a fierce warning and struck with his beak, but they chased him away. I think it was then that i came to love him. I sometimes still find.myself looking for him.