Sparrows were pecking at the grass on the levee this afternoon while I was tossing the ball for Skunk-Puppy. It wasn’t a huge flock or even large enough to be classified as a flock but none the less they were there taking advantage of the seed I tossed out two days ago. As I watched them I began to wonder why bird feeders are necessary the birds will pick the seeds off the grass just as well. I suspect it has to do with keeping the dishes mold free plus illnesses the birds may suffer.
There was a range of sizes suggesting some were born this past spring, that’s the interesting part, the larger birds were picking on the smaller ones. It didn’t appear to be overly violent or done for any reason other then allowing the bully to hog all of the seeds. However that doesn’t really hold water because the attacker would be knee deep in a seed pile then spot the smaller bird and go on the attack. The small bird would skitter away only to be chased by another adult. Most activities in the animal world have to do with food, I believe this is a common theme.
The Blue Jays are just as bad at chasing competitors from the seed, they prefer the Peanuts. That’s fine because I toss them out for the Jays, Doves and the Red Squirrels. It’s common knowledge the Blue Jays are bullies, but they are a bit more violent then the smaller Sparrows. Blue Jays unlike many other species do not eat most of what they gather instead they stash the stuff for consumption later. Scientist have discovered they are capable of remembering for six months where the seeds were hidden. They also remember what rots fastest then consuming that store first.
Doves are depicted as symbols of peace holding an Olive Branch in their beaks. They may appear gentle to humans but in the world of the birds they are aggressive bullies when there is food in the mix. They will stand their own against the Jays and Mocking birds often stealing the Scrub Jays stash. However not to be fooled the Jays will hide watching their freshly hidden stash to protect it against thieves. The Doves will follow the Blue Jays to steal their dinner, when spotted the Blue Jays attack instantly setting the bandit on the run. The pushing, badgering and attacking over food takes place every day all day; it does no harm as none of the birds appear to be losing any weight.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance