Birds at play

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A Merlin and many Blue Jays

I was walking down the lane to my studio when I noticed many Blue Jays making a racket. I stopped in a sunny spot between the long morning shadows and looked up into the trees.

They were mobbing a Merlin.

The Blue Jays and the Merlin play a spirited game of tag.
The Blue Jays and the Merlin play a spirited game of tag.

Neither side won

It was interesting. Blue Jays came in from all over. I saw at least a dozen different birds come in. They would sit in the tree tops, which are mostly bare of leaves now, and when the Merlin flew they would launch out and swoop at him. None getting too close.

The Merlin, for his part, sat in the branches and waited until he was either rested or he thought a Jay was being overly bold and then he would attack. I tell you there were some close calls and I got to see just how quick a Jay is in close flight.

The acrobatics around the tree branches were astounding.

Fast and furious action

I watched for perhaps ten minutes as the birds went back and forth between two trees. The Blue Jays definitely tired quicker. There were often as few as two birds watching and waiting.

Finally the Merlin ended the game and, swooping down from a tree, flew directly over my head. Maybe 15 feet above me? And was gone.


2 thoughts on “Birds at play”

  1. Funny–I typed ‘merlin’ in google and the first hits were to the legendary wizard Merlin. I had to add ‘bird’ before google would cough up appropriate information. That’s a great rendition of a merlin in the cartoon.

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I try to keep the “cartoons” quick and funky. I rarely edit or presketch.
    With the merlin tho I had done a rough line drawing and then I thought, I should do something a little more complete. So I looked up how they look and this is the result. It’s still on the side of impressionistic, ya?
    I filled in the rough with black and then dotted in two (or was it three) layers of browns and finished with the tan.

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