[CT Birds] Blue Jay butchery 11/20/09

Scott Olmstead sparverius81 at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 20 12:10:55 EST 2009

Visiting my parents in Bloomfield, I spent an hour in the backyard this morning and was treated to the unusual spectacle of a Blue Jay eating a mouse! I have no way of knowing if the jay captured the mouse or found it dead, but the mouse appeared to be freshly dead when I first spotted the jay as it flew across the yard with the mouse dangling from its bill. Finding a secluded spot in a thicket the jay had to work hard but eventually was able to butcher the mouse and have a good meal, before the leftovers were stolen by another jay. Rather than grabbing and tearing off pieces like hawks and falcons do, both jays were most effectively able to prepare the food by hammering at the mouse like a woodpecker or nuthatch might hammer at an acorn - fascinating behavior, even if a bit gruesome! I don't know my rodents very well but I believe the hapless victim was a White-footed Mouse or Deer Mouse.


Also spotted a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and two hatch-year Bald Eagles playfully tussling while riding the light breeze overhead. What a beautiful day!


Good birding,



Scott Olmstead
Tucson, Arizona

Tour Leader, Neotropics
Tropical Birding


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