WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

We spend a lot of time, effort, and money every year trying to protect various species from extinction. Most times, I totally get it: we sprayed DDT all over and it was screwing with California Condors, so we had to step in and protect them. Other times, I kind of wonder what the point is: if pandas don't want to have sex, isn't that natural selection pretty much taking its course? Every once in awhile, though, I come down on the complete opposite side of the equation: actively campaigning for the systematic murder of an entire animal species. And the Steller's Jay is on my hit list...

 

Steller's Jay
Just look at the cocky bastard.

 

When I first moved to the Northwest I couldn't help but notice the Steller's Jay (or the Long-crested Jay, Pine Jay, or Mountain Jay. But NOT a "Stellar Jay"). Blue Jays aren't particularly common back home, so I had only seen them a few times but I always thought they were really pretty, if not aggressive and mean. And now my new home was crawling with these gray and blue birds bouncing around the trees with their hilarious spiked haircuts. They're certainly more pleasant to look at than the bizarre crow mafia that dominates pretty much all of Western Washington.

Then the sun rose.

See, the Steller's Jay isn't really what you'd call a "songbird," but it sure seems to think it is. They seem to love greeting the sun every morning with their raucous calls, celebrating another beautiful day to be alive. Except they sound like this: 

 

Disregard that bit about their "second most common call." I've never heard it, and it's obviously a lie to try and boost their reputation. No, the jays in my neighborhood prefer that raspy, croaking shriek. All of them - and if I had to guess based on the cacophony, I'd say there are roughly six million - begin squawking at each other the moment a sliver of light hits their beady little eyes, which in the long days of Seattle summer means as early as 5:30 am.

I sleep with my window open. No buildings in Seattle seem to have air conditioning, I like it cool when I'm sleeping, and I hate the feeling of still air. So in order to fall asleep comfortably, every morning I have the tradeoff of awaking to incessant shrieking, naively hoping that this will be the one day in the history of Steller's Jays that they don't carry on like that for an hour, then cursing the universe and getting up to shut the window before trying to fall back asleep. 

img_3329
"Oh, were you sleeping? Sorry, I was too busy being a jerk to notice."


Think I'm just some curmudgeon ranting about birds on the internet? I'm not the only one who hates Steller's Jays. Other birds hate them even more, since they're known to mimic hawk calls to scare other birds off their feeding grounds:


So why the hell are we tolerating it? We have the power to irrevocably alter nature, right? I say let's put it to use and kill off Cyanocitta stelleri. I know what you're thinking, "How could you endorse the extinction of a species of bird?" Fine, let's look at the ecological impact: what do Steller's Jays eat? Pretty much everything. Nuts, bugs, fruit, seeds, eggs, they don't care. You know what other animals eat that stuff? ALL OF THEM. There are plenty of critters that would happily slide into whatever food chain the jays vacate. Crisis averted.

Sometimes historical moments begin with a single man's action. This time I'm willing to be that man, as long as "action" can be interpreted to include "complaining."
 

 

 

 

Flickr photos Steller's Jay by Linda Tanner and img_3329 by Florin Chelaru used under a Creative Commons License.

pohatu771


quality posts: 2 Private Messages pohatu771

I'd take that raspy cry over whatever bird it is here that makes a sound exactly like a home security system alarm.

I wake up every morning at 4:30, thinking someone is in my house.

Then I realize we don't have a security system.

SESteve


quality posts: 15 Private Messages SESteve
pohatu771 wrote:I'd take that raspy cry over whatever bird it is here that makes a sound exactly like a home security system alarm.

I wake up every morning at 4:30, thinking someone is in my house.

Then I realize we don't have a security system.



The obvious solution is to get a home security system with a different sound than the one the bird makes. When you train yourself to be alarmed by that sound, the bird won't bother you any more.

cpagelsen


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cpagelsen

I can understand the spelling error since they sound similar but I believe it's spelled *hysterical*. Just get a paper bag and breath into it.

zellman


quality posts: 0 Private Messages zellman

At least Stellar Jays are local to NW America. Here on the East coast we have billions of European starlings that some sap from England imported for some reason...maybe he missed the old English pests...

Don't worry I don't judge you for wanting to annihilate an entire species of beautiful animal life. I'd do it to European Starlings in America in a heartbeat.

Luxasia


quality posts: 4 Private Messages Luxasia

I dont blame you at all. I share your sentiment, except my outrage is not directed at anything with feathers. I live in Fort Worth, and right now the insane heat has pretty much made it so you try not to leave the house until the sun has gone down and maybe its 95 outside instead of 117! The bane of my eardrums can be summed up with one word: Cicada. Sure, it may be pleasent when 1 or 2 are near your house. Apparently, the new apartment complex I moved to is home to thousands! The noise is deafening!

Do not follow me, I walk into walls!

macraig


quality posts: 7 Private Messages macraig

You'd single out one annoying species and leave the rest to pick up the slack of annoying the hell outta you? Whaddaya think the crows are gonna do when the Stellar Jays are gone?

For that matter, why don't we eradicate that supremely annoying species known as H. sapiens?

(Doggone mindless censorship here won't lemme even use the full Latin name of our own species!)

ArtWorksMetal


quality posts: 5 Private Messages ArtWorksMetal

I feel the same way about the Mockingbird. Not only do they have similar behavior to the Steller's Jay, they sing from the highest limb of the highest tree, so they're song and dance routine can be heard and seen from afar.
It get's even better - when the Moon is full, or nearly so, they will do it all night.
At one point years ago I actually borrowed a shotgun to take care of the problem.
A BB gun works too. But it requires patience, breadcrumbs, and a blind.

Asceticism is for those that can't afford Hedonism.

macraig


quality posts: 7 Private Messages macraig
ArtWorksMetal wrote:But it requires patience, breadcrumbs, and a blind.



At that point I'd be inclined to label you as the more annoying creature.

djguggemos


quality posts: 0 Private Messages djguggemos

I recognize that second most common call.
I think they're leaving it out just to get your goat.
They're good at knowing what buttons to push, aren't they?

ThunderThighs


quality posts: 555 Private Messages ThunderThighs

Staff

Have you had a woodpecker decide that the metal flashing on your chimney makes a great amplifier yet? That's lovely too.



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pooflady


quality posts: 20 Private Messages pooflady

I don't even know what the species is, but it takes great delight in running up and down and pecking in the gutter right outside my bedroom window in the morning.



When I was a kid I wanted to be older, this CRAP is NOT what I expected.

agingdragqueen


quality posts: 119 Private Messages agingdragqueen

Staff

Luxasia wrote:I dont blame you at all. I share your sentiment, except my outrage is not directed at anything with feathers. I live in Fort Worth, and right now the insane heat has pretty much made it so you try not to leave the house until the sun has gone down and maybe its 95 outside instead of 117! The bane of my eardrums can be summed up with one word: Cicada. Sure, it may be pleasent when 1 or 2 are near your house. Apparently, the new apartment complex I moved to is home to thousands! The noise is deafening!



Lately, the worst part about the cicadas is that for some reason I mistake their constant buzz for rain. It's been so long since I've heard rain I no longer know what it sounds like.


no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
pooflady wrote:I don't even know what the species is, but it takes great delight in running up and down and pecking in the gutter right outside my bedroom window in the morning.



sorry about that. mabe i'll try running in my socks next time.

DennisG2010


quality posts: 19 Private Messages DennisG2010

I feel the same way about Grackles.
I have a couple of bird feeders in my yard, and the usual patrons are Chickadees, a couple of pairs of Cardinals, Finches, some Mourning Doves, a gang of Blue Jays (Northern - not the same as yours) and some squirrels, along with various and sundry other inoffensive birds.
None of them are terribly noisy, they all share the food peacefully and a full feeder can last a week, even when busy with the usual crowd.
Lately however, I've been inundated by a horde of Grackles.
As soon as I fill the feeders they descend like a plague of locusts - crowding out the other birds, making a horrendous racket, and polishing off a full feeder in about half a day!
I hate them so much, I've been wondering if it would be legal for me to start picking them off with a b.b. gun.
I don't even bother filling the feeders anymore, to the detriment of all the other birds.

cindyscrazy


quality posts: 3 Private Messages cindyscrazy

I had a boyfriend who lived in an apartment complex in the "city". (Understanding that the city in Rhode Island isn't really a city by national standards...but anyway)

A bird had taken up residence under a parking lot light. I don't know when it slept, but it sure as *(&% wasn't at night! It sang AALLLLLL night long.

I no longer have that boyfriend lol

I once heard a mocking bird singing the song a grandfather clock makes. That was amusing hehehe.

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it"--from a T-shirt

https://www.etsy.com/shop/cindyscrazyknits?ref=si_shop

xaila


quality posts: 0 Private Messages xaila
pohatu771 wrote:I'd take that raspy cry over whatever bird it is here that makes a sound exactly like a home security system alarm.

I wake up every morning at 4:30, thinking someone is in my house.

Then I realize we don't have a security system.



Mocking birds are the devil and I feel your 8|

EssenGrabow


quality posts: 3 Private Messages EssenGrabow

Jays. So what.
Grackles. Big deal.

What about HUMMINGBIRDS?!? Humming ALL DAY!
LEARN THE WORDS ALREADY!

wootietootiefrootie


quality posts: 0 Private Messages wootietootiefrootie

Kill just one and hang its body outside as an example to the rest of them.....worked for the Sopranos.

halrager


quality posts: 0 Private Messages halrager

The Jays are the perfect analog for humans, screaming, "Hay!" while they stalk our sojourns and campsites. Hopping around without consequence, just being generally obnoxious. If there was ever a case of parallel evolution, her is one. The boorish American bird, in. your. campsite. Justice?

pooflady


quality posts: 20 Private Messages pooflady
halrager wrote:The Jays are the perfect analog for humans, screaming, "Hay!" while they stalk our sojourns and campsites. Hopping around without consequence, just being generally obnoxious. If there was ever a case of parallel evolution, her is one. The boorish American bird, in. your. campsite. Justice?



Why would anyone scream "Hay"?



When I was a kid I wanted to be older, this CRAP is NOT what I expected.

NemmyX


quality posts: 0 Private Messages NemmyX

Sounds like you need a bird team.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/clearbirds.html

They might all be looking for jobs now, this is probably the time to swoop down there and pick them up.


On a side note, it was shockingly loud when they used to set off all of those cannons at once. From miles away, it sounded like a jet breaking the sound barrier, very cool. Probably scared the **** out of some birds.


That would probably fix your Jay problem, I say you assemble some type of air/pulse cannon and then blast them when they start in the morning.
Then I suggest you quickly close your window before your neighbors figure out who is firing the air cannon at 6 AM.

jintoya


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jintoya
zellman wrote:At least Stellar Jays are local to NW America. Here on the East coast we have billions of European starlings that some sap from England imported for some reason...maybe he missed the old English pests...

Don't worry I don't judge you for wanting to annihilate an entire species of beautiful animal life. I'd do it to European Starlings in America in a heartbeat.


the steller jays are NOT local. ive lived in washington all my life and have to scratch my head when someone says "our local stellar jay" they werent here when i was a kid! they smash up robin nests and we have ravens decapitating them on my porch to compete for food, makes me laugh when i see it. as for the idea of killing one and hanging it, the're just too stupid to see that you are doing it to scare them off, i shoot 1 a day and they are still multiplying, ive shot them off the same branch within 1 minute of each-other and they just look at the corpse on the ground like "hey fred, you ok? oh-well, back to bein irrit-"thats when i blew its effing head off.