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Jemima Jay Comes Home

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


There are some stories that are too big, too sweet, too wonderful to tell. I've been so busy living these blue jay days, these rare and unrepeatable Jemima days,  that I haven't had time to write about her or share it all. I've given myself and my time over to nurturing her and recording her every new behavior with video and photos. She's too big, her story too good, to be passed over, and it's also too big and good to cram into a bunch of blog posts.

Pulling in the clothes at sundown, and the Yard Imp swoops in to have a chat. Photo by Bill Thompson III.




Appearing after a long day mostly away and wilding. I'm so grateful to see her and give her some mealworms and a cool drink! Photo by Bill Thompson III

I've never had a corvid in my care. Raising a corvid is to raising an ordinary songbird
as raising a chimpanzee is to raising an ordinary songbird.

Get the picture? Yes, we see!

But the dam is beginning to crumble and I must write about this bird. Not blogwriting, those choppy little bits meant as captions, but writing writing. I have to tell her story while she's here, while it's fresh, while it's still unfolding, because it would be a sin not to. Was I planning to write about a blue jay this summer? No. I was planning a lot of travel and even more pushing Baby Birds with talks and book signings. And I still have to do that, because I set it all up before Jemima came to me and turned my life upside down. Do I worry about leaving her? Oh yes. For what I'll miss, for what she might do, for everything. For example: As I write, she's chasing an adult jay around the yard, and the adult seems not at all perturbed about it. Maybe even welcoming. What is happening? I have to watch. I try to get photos and fail. If I'm not here, this stuff is still going to go on, and I will miss it.  But I'm headed to Massachusetts and Connecticut in mid-July to give a bunch of talks, and miss it I shall. My version of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). (See "Julie in the Flesh" on the left sidebar of this page for my appearances.)

I'll be frank: my muse has eluded me of late. She can't get through all the other crap that's going on in my anxious brain. Every once in a great while I manage to squeeze out a blogpost, but that's about it. If they seem particularly good lately, it's because a hell of a lot of creative juice is backed up in my pipe, and the drips that manage to get out are extra tasty. It's been a tough year, so I appreciate your bearing with the pauses and interruptions in the blog.

Jemima's World


Like every other creative spirit out there, I yearn to breathe free and do what I do best. But it's going to be awhile before my horizons are clear and I can focus on my real work, get a book proposal out, keep the wolf a little farther away from my door.

This morning as I worked at the drawing table, Jemima came to have breakfast at her Secret Studio Feeder under the shelter of a crank-out window. A screen keeps her from coming in the house.


She'd eaten breakfast, and she started giving the little burt-burt-burt vocalization that means she'd like to have a visit. She hopped up on the struts and fluttered her wings, begging me to take the screen out. "Jemima Iris Jay. You are a free bird. You should not still be asking to come in the house." 
She considered that for a moment, then started pecking the soft nylon screen as if she meant to break in. I put my hand against the screen and she only pecked harder. That beak means bidness.

Jays.They are thugs at heart. And they know how to get exactly what they want. I removed the screen and welcomed the prodigal in for a brief visit. The other choice was having a Jemima-sized hole in my screen, and that wouldn't do.

I'll let this video show you just a bit of the uncommon thuggy sweetness that is Jemima Jay. Put that together with aged, extra floppy maple-flavored Bacon, and you have quite a sammitch.








18 comments:

I love hearing about Jemima your tender feelings for her. What a delight!

My heart is all melty.

Thank you for the update, I hope you do continue to write about her! I have a few Blue Jays showing up now that look to be about the same age, so it's very interesting to me. Love how patient Mr. Baker is with her.

Jemima reminds us that we, with all our current concerns, aren't almighty. She is a blue light in the midst of much darkness. For your sharing that, we do so appreciate!

I consider all the little snigletts of the story that I look forward to with such pleasure bites of that delicious sammich that is your life with these delectable creatures, Julie. Please don't discount them in any way. They may be a part of a bigger meal that you are preparing in that vast creative kitchen in your mind and heart, but WOW, the smells that are coming out are amazing. In gratitude.

What a wonderful post. I hope Jemima stays in your life forever--do bluejays migrate? (Or maybe if they do migrate she'll return to her original home.) If they don't migrate, I look forward to hearing about Jemima visits to you and Chet. He sure got used to her presence. Amazing. I'm always awed by inter-species connections. The positive ones! What a delight--the video, the photos, your cooing softly to her. Thanks as usual, Julie.

I love that she has to tell Chet all the birdy things!

Wow. I'll take your comments whenever they come down the pike because they make life so much lighter and brighter. Thank you-

I love reading about Jemima and you, and your new life together! She is quite an interesting feathered friend. I hope you will write a book of this wonderful adventure. It's such a wild and delightful ongoing story.

Thank you so much for taking the time to keep us in the loop about Jemima. I look forward to (hopefully) many more posts about her. Corvids are the best! May she have a long and happy life, and visit you often.

Tears in my eyes as it just read the whole blog post out loud to Ezra.

Gratitude indeed, we all have melty hearts. I see a book, no, two books here. Please, one for adults because you touch chords deep inside us, but would you consider one for children? Inspire, with truthfulness and honesty, a whole new generation of bird watchers, bird lovers, perhaps bird rehabilitaors? If it fits in your crazy wonderful mindfull life?

Just AWESOME.....

Further tales to share of our "pet" blue jay growing up. My grandfather built a free-standing aviary for him, which was kept under the expansive shade of the pecan trees in our yard. Since we kids were always outdoors, we talked to him and he talked back in the exact way Jemima Jay is talking to you and Bacon. I used to sit at the picnic table next to him and read out loud. He tolerated my Nancy Drew phase, but truth be told, I think he liked Trixie Belden best!

I have just loved all the Jemima stories, pictures, videos. Can't wait for a book ;-D.

Chet and Jemina together are totally irresistible. LOVE this update.

Can't get enough interspecies interaction (the not eating each other kind)! As an aside - admiring the clothespin bag. A family heirloom? Kim in PA

One more creature that loves you Julie. But maybe she really wanted inside so she could check out Chet Baker's toes. That video is priceless!

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