Sunday, January 16, 2011

my first tree year project post

western scrub-jay perched on coast Douglas-fir
Aphelocoma californica perched on Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

I don't often join in blogging groups and group nature activities. Sheesh, keeping up with Nature ID is already enough of a time-consuming hobby for me. However, I immediately liked the The Tree Year project idea: pick a tree, observe it and everything on or around it as often as you can, then share your observations.

I've already been observing this coast Douglas-fir for the past few years, which is located right next to our 3rd story balcony. Click to see all my past posts that include mentions or pictures of this tree. While I plan to write more later, I had a good laugh looking back to when I began this blog - back then, I wasn't sure which kind of jay came to visit me for peanuts or what kind of gnarly tree was growing within a few feet from home.

Similarly, I'm curious to watch how this The Tree Year develops.

Much to my own mixed dismay and delight, I've been hand feeding peanuts to our local western scrub-jays. The particular individual pictured above has continued to visit me through the fall and winter. It often hides the peanuts in the odd looking tailed pine cones of the Douglas-fir. I've wondered whether it knows how to find its stash, but I've since read western scrubs have a very good memory. Last summer I was feeding 4 different jays. They all looked very similar, but each had their own personality and behavior. I wonder what happened to the other 3 jays.


texwisgirl said...

Beautiful bird! I'm glad they like you and your peanut feeding!

Jeannette said...

Scrub jay...a frequent flier bird in our neck of the could say a common bird...and Doug...another common denizen...and how beautiful they both are.

Anonymous said...

I used to love hand-feeding the scrub jays in Golden Gate Park Arboretum and have hopes to get a couple of our current backyard crew used to me - the delicate touch of the wild bird on one's palm and the weight shift as it flies off is so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

welcome aboard the Tree Year Project! I'd love to see how the Jay hides the peanut :-)

Nature ID (Katie) said...

twg, always glad to hear from you.

Jeannette, you're probably the closest (in terms of location) blogger that I know, besides my husband. In a whole world of bloggers, it's nice to find someone close by.

Janet, I have a soft spot for "tamed" wild things, especially ones as smart as the scrub-jay. Reminds me of the fox and rose in The Little Prince, or Jimmy the Raven in most of Frank Capra's movies.

dreamfalcon, thank you for creating the Tree Year Project!

Caroline Gill said...

Greetings from Wales, UK. What an unusual Jay! Look forward to reading more in due course. What a great project.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Caroline, I think your larch tree is pretty unusual, too. The scrub jay is a very common bird here. I'm really enjoying this project and reading about other people's trees.