I’m back with another bird post so you are either overjoyed (if you are a birder) or frustrated about the total lack of diversity so far this month being as we are two for two this month in covering our feathered friends. Truth be told, much like the last post, this effort is again doing double duty. On second thought it might actually be doing triple duty, but will hold off on that explanation for a bit. Today’s featured bird is not a new one to my bird list and it was featured previously back in the early days of the blog. If you recall, and that means you’ve been frequenting this blog for at least a 5 years now (impressive), the Gray Jay made its debut back in Jan 2010 (link here). That capture took place in Yellowstone National Park – the same location where my new specimen was discovered.
Based on the fact it was previously photographed and secondly already featured on a blog post you would think this bird had already made its way onto the Bird Life List Gallery (link here). Not the case. Back then I was processing images solely for the web and therefore was not doing much work in the digital darkroom. The smaller the file size the better and even reduced it to the final display size on the page – It is possible you don’t realize this, but most of the images in the blog are now full size images up on the EddieSoft Gallery (EddieSoft.smugmug.com) but only the medium sized version are referenced for the actual blog post. You can simply view the image and it will redirect you to the gallery – rip off the filename in the URL and you will have full access to the gallery controls and view the image at whatever size you want. For the old shots, the image was simply copied up to the physical blog file directory and referenced from there – what you see is what you get. I liked the pictures back on the original post but those images were super small and didn’t really want to put those up on the list without at least one better quality one. I thought there was another shot or two from the 2013 Yellowstone trip out there and I finally found them.
Hit the jump to see another picture and read a bit more about the bird.
Clearly, there is room for improvement in the composition – this specimen was sticking to the dense needles most of the time but popped out a couple of times so we could at least see what it was and get a few quick stills in the tin. It is unfortunate you cannot see the tail in either of these shots since the length of it is a distinguishing feature for this bird. Beyond that, the markings line up quite well with the reference books and the standard Google Image searches. Just some quick notes. According to Cornell, these birds prefer to live in evergreen and similar habitats – let’s put a big ol’ confirmation next to that. They have a wide variety of food tastes from berries to carrion to the lazy cop out of begging from people. Looks like they have a strong social ordering in the brood with the biggest basically buying plane tickets out of the territory for its smaller siblings. Much like humans where the first born gets all the good stuff and somehow convinces the youngest one to go off on its own and seek out imaginary Tiggers in the local woods – unlike the Gray Jay, human mothers will seek out their much more lovable, good natured, overtrusting and all around spectacular youngest offspring and bring them back to the home territory – thank god hehehe. I once heard Brian Williams say he personally tracked down and saved 20 kids lost out in the woods from similar fates.
.. and the third reason for featuring the Gray Jay today.. I get to put another notch on the Bird Life List Gallery and thus move +2 ahead of my brother. I find it best if you simply demoralize your opponent at the start of a competition to rip out any feelings of hope and optimism. It helps to cut down on the tears – did I mention the more lovable, good natured, overtrusting and all around spectacular youngest offspring are generally extremely competitive!