I woke up this morning to an irregular tapping and scratching on the roof. I ran through my list of the usual suspects: Rain? Nope. Roof rats again? Ugh, I hope not! Racoons? Broken tree branch? Alien space ship? The sound continued, surprisingly loud. Curiosity finally spurred me out of bed and into shoes and coat. As I rounded the back corner of the house, I had my answer. It was a Steller’s Jay, hopping and pecking around industriously in the moss on the roof over my bedroom. Such a loud stomping ruckus for a bird!
I have a flock of Steller’s Jays that live in my yard. I suspect they nest in the rhododendron hedges as well as the tall pine trees. They look like crows in blue jackets, and at least five or ten of them often strut and flit and chatter around the yard eating worms and doing whatever else birds do, very busily.
I’m not a lover of birds exactly and I only know that my blue flock is Steller’s Jays courtesy of my friend Linda, who identified them for me a few years ago. But I enjoy their bright plumage and self-sufficiency.
I wouldn’t have said that spring is here. It’s just as damnably grey and rainy as ever. But maybe the jays know something I don’t. Something has signaled the birds that today it is time to start picking at the roof moss and rootling in the rain gutters and they’ve been at it all day.
And while I was out there, I noticed that a few crocuses are up. Crocuses aren’t so much a sign of spring as a reminder that eventually winter will be over. There are stages to this thing and we’ve reached the last one. The crocuses signal that we will need just a bit more endurance, but there is hope.