This year's Jay is taking the duty very seriously, to say the least. I'm not sure whether it's the male or the female that does this yearly duty, but my guess is he's the husband, and shrieking is what he does for a living while his wife builds a nest and starts feeling all eggy. I'll just call the bird him and move on.
He perches on the Camilla tree and hurls his insults. He hangs sideways from the chain of a metal sculpture I did a few years ago and roars his indignant threats. He sits right on the porch railing and vocalizes his rage. His issue with us is that we have cats.
Three of them. They have the predatory nerve to sleep in the sunshine on our front porch, warm fur commas with slits for eyes. Their very existence inflames this bird to heights of passionate shrieking that one might think would be better reserved for the approach of an invading army.
They only get the lecture from him if they stay on the porch, but I've seen him dive at them kamikaze-style if they dare to walk across the lawn. Not only is he on duty in our yard, I hear him move to the adjacent houses and do his vociferous work there as well. I might think, if I were a bird, that a better strategy could be a stealthier approach.
Instead of going door to door screaming "My wife is nesting here! Stay away or
I will peck your eyes out of your fluffy heads!"
I would possibly consider a quieter method of home protection. If he were to hang close to the nest and save his outrage for predators that were hunting instead of napping, most of the over-fed fur-balls in this neighborhood would remain oblivious of the Jays' family planning. If Darwin is correct however, this is how the fittest have survived for endless generations.
If I were a bird I would either do the same thing or my babies would be consumed by a cat apparently.
This is a little bit like Honey Moon's relationship with the squirrel, but
they conduct their business in a much lower decibel range. Moon trots around the yard and one particular squirrel follows her through the leaf-world, high above, and shouts things at her in its native language. I don't speak or understand Squirrel, but I'm thinking Moon knows what it is saying. She is long and low and can hardly jump onto the bed. She is in no way qualified to pursue a squirrel as an effective predator. I think they may be friends, it seems that they seek each other out. The squirrel carries on a monologue while they tour the yard together.
The Jay, though, is a different story. He reminds me of the little drunk guy in a bar who tries to fight everyone. "Hey! Hey cat! My wife is nesting, what are you looking at? You want some of this? Bring it!" If he were to land right next to them, they would, in fact, bring it. He knows this, so he stays high and loud and proclaims to the world that he is the avian Napoleon and he has conquered all of this territory.
Only one of my cats will even bother to hunt, and he is sometimes successful. He likes to consume the tastier bits of his catch and then bring the remains for display on the porch. If I were the Jay, I would be saving all of my clamorous oration for Tower, the orange cat. Right now he's not a threat, he is lounging in the single square of sunlight on the living-room floor.
This is how I know it is truly springtime again here in the land of our house. He's back again, and just as angry as he was when he first started making his rounds at 5:30 or so this morning. It must be a very tiring job.