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Gray Jay Bicolored Ochoco Mountains Oregon

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07 Jul 2015

While deep in the Ochoco Mountains we ran across a nice flowing creek.

I love running water and just had to stop!!

Upon inspection of where we were it was obvious this spot had been used as a hunting camp. The legs of the elk and the "meat hangers" (we laughed for I am sure there is a real name for them ha) , that were nailed to the trees. The feathers laying around looked as if maybe a turkey was in the mix with the elk? Even a spot for a bathroom. Gave us this impression.

Guy wondered further down the creek then I for things happen to catch my eye. So I was wondering around on my own taking shots of the ice that was found where the water was not running fast. 

As I was doing my thing I heard some racket that was obviously coming from the trees and from birds.

As you can imagine wild creatures do not just sit still so one can snap off photographs, so off I went to get this loud birds photographs! There were at least 3 of these birds, however non of them were all that impressed with any of us there! From the information I gathered of this bird, these must of been truly wild Gray Jays!! Not yet ingrained with human presents.

I first thought this was a nutcracker. We have many of those around so it seams. Same family as these Gray Jays, but so is the steller's jay,blue jay and the western scrub jay , the crows, the ravens there is a lot of species in the Corvidae family!! From the sub species of the Gray Jay and getting these photographs in the Ochoco mountains this determined these to be the Bicolored Gray Jay.

One thing all these birds have in common is, they are very smart!! Smarter then humans give them credit for! Over the Cascade Mountains  there is yet another sub species of the Gray Jay over there with different needs and habits. That Gray Jay does not like snow, the ones here better like snow!

Like all birds of the Corvidae family, they are pretty much scavengers, however it appears all the species of the Gray Jay have different food scavenger habits I guess is the way to say it?

 

I thought it interesting when I read they can remember where they stored food under as much as 3' of snow! Shoot that would be hard for most humans to remember! I also read where this Gray Jay will also make their nest on the south western part of a tree for the solar warmth. Is that cool or what?? We can learn a thing or two from nature hu?

Like several other species of bird a slang name for these is camp robbers too. I have a problem with people feeding wildlife in this manor. One thing is, if one is camping that person is not at home. I read where a female Gray Jay (maybe other kinds of camp robbers as well?), will actually leave her nest and leave the brood unprotected to go and get food from humans.

I wonder how these so called wildlife "lovers", would feel if they new they were the cause of a brood being killed just because they thought it cute or whatever that a so called wild bird is landing on them etc.. for food? Makes one wonder hu??

These Gray Jays did not want anything to do with me, or Guy or the dogs. So from what I read these individual birds were not "trained", or learned this behavior of humans being a food source. So frankly, if any one of these birds tried landing or whatever on me they would have the dogs to content with, if of course I  did not call them off or Guy get a hold of them before they got to the bird. This makes me wonder if this too would be the fault of the campers, hikers etc.. who trained such a bird to think humans were a food source?

Any way you think of this, there are birds at home you can feed from the bird feeder. No need to feed wildlife while hiking and camping. You are not doing the wildlife any favors and in fact maybe the one to cause the death of such a creature.

I did notice this one I have most of the photographs of was keeping a good eye on me. Screaming as well. Hopping from limb to limb which made photographs entertaining! I like a good challenge!!

In one of the flying photographs you can see some tree in its beak, the bird dropped this. Seeing the trees which grow in the Ochoco Mountains are a major food source. As well as small rodents, parts of fresh kills of bigger game, insects and it sounds like a typical scavenger with a very good memory of where it hides its food for the winter months!

Reading of the family dynamics of this Gray Jay was quite interesting as well! Having one of the young stay to help out, while the others are ran off. I read where t his one that stays is usually a male. Sound familiar within human history??

I tried to get a flying shot of the back of one of the birds feathers, however I take what I can get! The front shot the bird was trying to land on a branch that was not going to hold his weight.

Thank you like always for coming by!

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