Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Color Collaborative: March: Bird

Photo from the American Bird Conservancy

We have many interesting birds here in the high desert. I've discussed the road runners in the past; these large birds nest in the bushes and trees near our house and can often be spotted in our front yard. There are robins, crows, starlings and sparrows, just like in other climates. Then there is the pinyon jay, a small, noisy bird with blue feathers unique to the Great Basin area of the western US. I think the pinyon jay is one of our most fascinating wild birds.

Photo from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Pinyon jays eat pine nuts, the seeds inside pine cones. They're known to have good memories, able to cache pine nuts in secret places and find them again later. I find them very difficult to photograph; they move quickly and they blend into the landscape in a place like this, where the sky is almost always blue. You see them flitting from one bush to another, or rustling about in a tree, a flash of color against dusty juniper and cedar. They're not exactly sky-blue themselves; they're duller than that, more of a cadet blue, or cobalt. Their heads are more brilliantly colored than their bodies; the feathers around their eyes glisten with a deep royal-blue tone, set off by shiny black-bead eyes and a sharp, slender black beak.

Photo from Nature Works

They're alert and they seem very smart. They exhibit flock behavior; if you see one, there are bound to be several more nearby. Over the past few weeks, I've been watching them in my backyard. We've been putting the dirty straw from the chicken coop on the backyard planter beds, to help fertilize the soil and protect new growth. I've watched the pinyon jays pick up pieces of straw and carry them out over the arroyo. I've also watched what I think could be nesting behavior in a juniper in our backyard. I always know the jays have been around, even if I haven't seen them, when straw is scattered on the patio under the planters. They're fractious, easily distracted and quickly scattered. They'll fly off in an instant, crying out across the arroyo, if I try to approach them. And oh, how I've tried - barely breathing as I tiptoe across the patio with a crust of bread, a handful of birdseed or (maybe especially) my camera.


Sometimes I hear them before I see them, loud cackling and cawing preceding the flock as they fly over the wall from the arroyo. When I do see them, I try not to blink; they're elusive and endlessly interesting, these darting, swooping, jewel-toned neighbors of mine.

Photos courtesy of the sites linked in the captions. Click on each link for more info on the pinyon jay.

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Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

32 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bird, and such lovely blue plumage, it makes me think of indigo dyeing. It's fascinating to see birds from other parts of the world, ones that other people see everyday but that are new to me. I hope you get to see some chicks this year. CJ xx

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  2. What a fabulous bird Jennifer such a beautiful colour, I would love to see one of those in my garden. :) xx

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  3. A beautiful bird, I have never seen one of those before, the colour is a delight.

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  4. What a gorgeous blue bird, Jennifer. I have never heard of a pinyon jay, so thank you so much for sharing them. Your photos are great, and it must be fun watching them. I hope they build a nest nearby - wouldn't that be fun?

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  5. I find birds fascinating; they are so clever. What a treat to have this beautiful bird visit your garden X

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  6. Hi Jennifer,

    What a lovely post! I've never heard of this bird before! The colour is gorgeous. I'm also glad the birds have returned here, despite the fact that the weather is still not so springlike yet. This morning I listened to the blackbirds singing before sunrise!

    Have a great week!
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  7. What a beautiful colour. It is lovely to see and hear about the wildlife from other parts of the world. Blue skies everyday? Now that would be wonderful........

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  8. Looks so good. New post on my blog, I will be hapy if see it. Thanks keep in touch, pls.

    http://mylovelyfashionbih.blogspot.com/

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  9. What an amazing bird, the colour is brilliant!
    V x

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  10. Such a gorgeous bird and beautiful shades of blue, Jennifer. I love seeing different birds in our own garden.....would love to see one as colourful as this!
    Helen xox

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  11. It is interesting to see different birds from somewhere else in the world! xx

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  12. How wonderful to hear about the birds where you are, how different they are to the ones I see. It was a pleasure to read about them

    S x

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  13. What an amazing blue - you're so lucky to see them in your garden everyday. Good luck sneaking up with the camera! x

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  14. What an amazing blue - you're so lucky to see them in your garden everyday. Good luck sneaking up with the camera! x

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  15. It's fascinating hearing about birds which we don't see over here. He looks very inquisitive in that third photo.

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  16. They're so beautiful, and quite unlike anything we see in the wild here. Most of our UK birds have an understated beauty, but I find them endlessly fascinating nonetheless. We often have blackbirds nesting in the ivy at the end of the garden, though I've seen no signs of them yet this year.

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  17. A lovely post, it's a beautiful bird. We haven't got anything similar here at all to match it. x

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  18. My goodness, what an amazing blue! It's fascinating to see your native birds and the colourful landscape that you live in :)
    Cathy x

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  19. I've never seen or heard of that bird, so thanks for illuminating me and expanding my knowledge base! What an amazing color of blue! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  20. I love birds and have never heard of nor seen the blue birds you mentioned, since I'm in northern IL. Robins just now came back to our area after being gone all winter so I sure am glad to see them back! They're so pretty with their bright orange chests and tummies, strutting all around my yard.

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  21. I was really hoping you'd talk about some birds native to where you live, and you did, so thank you! We don't tend to get birds that brilliantly coloured here in the UK so your Pinyon jay looks extra exotic and exciting to me. x

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  22. Thank you for teaching us about this beautiful bird. That color blue is gorgeous. I hate to admit just how ignorant I am about birds.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  23. What a lovely nine-patch blankie all those different shades of blue would make, alongwith the leafy green behind one of the birds. That Pinyon Jay looks fantastic. x

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  24. Steller's Jays are the bluest birds I have seen around us, Jennifer, but I have not caught any good photos of them and can appreciate the difficulty you are having capturing images on your camera of your Pinion Jays :-) Thanks for posting, and for your beautiful comment on Annie's post...your comparison of the movement of a flock of Starlings to shaking out a tablecloth is so apt...I have seen that!!! xx

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  25. I've never heard of this bird. It's beautiful!

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  26. Such gorgeous birds my friend!!! Wow!! That would be a fun one for us to spy in the garden! I hope the weekend ahead is full of wonderful things for you all!! Nicole xo

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  27. It would be fascinating to see the brightly colored birds in our yards. Lately we've been spotting tiny finch-like birds flocking on the weed to pick at the seeds. They look like hybrids - perhaps pets that have been let loose and found friends in the wild. Most of the time we enjoy the birds around here but shoo them away when they get too close to our laundry on the line. Enjoyed your post and love your photos!

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  28. Most of our local birds are not so colourful, most definitely not this amazing blue! Have a lovely weekend. x

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  29. Hey Jennifer,r
    I'm just catching up after a hectic week. I would love to see a bird a brightly coloured bird in my garden. What a beauty. I so enjoy watching the birds as I empty and load the washing machine throughout the day. I've just been watching a Blackbird pull up worms in the pouring rain. It's a simple connection with nature, and I love it.
    Have a great weekend, lovely girl.
    Leanne xx

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  30. What a gloriously exotic-looking bird, especially to British eyes. The only bird approaching that colour in the UK is the kingfisher and it is only blue on top, with orange underneath. Most of our birds are much more subdued. :)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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