During the night, 2Pay-Z appeared to have doubled in size. In fact we calculated during Saturday morning that he was doubling in size approximately every four hours. According to my figuring, by Sunday he would be like the Roc hatchling in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad – about the size of a young elephant. All the bird-doctor advice on the web said to put him back where his mom and dad could find him. After conferring with Joe we decided to put him (in his box) back near the nest, and watch to see if Ma and Pa would start feeding him again — seeing as how he would require being fed constantly for a few more weeks…
Did you know that a robin feeds her young 400 times a day? That’s every 20 minutes in a 16-hour day. (They sleep at night.)
2Pay-Z seemed to grow as we watched. You could almost see the “fur” morphing into real feathers. He was active, too — always trying to climb or “fly” to the top of whatever he was contained in. JUST LIKE US!
So in late afternoon we put him back by Joe’s garage and watched from our back yard balcony to see if his P & M would take over his babysitting again. The nest was too high in the tree, so we couldn’t put him back in that. We didn’t want to put him on the ground because cats might get him. So we put him in a metal stewpot (with nesting materials) in which we figured he’d still be plenty visible from above, and we put that stewpot atop Joe’s spare Jeep, directly underneath the nest. We then repaired to our balcony to birdwatch.
It became a most suspenseful afternoon! There is a lot going on in a suburban back yard if you sit and watch. From our own perch we could see the Jay nest and the stewpot. We could see that the two Jays were indeed still around — they returned to the nest and took off again several times. BUT THEY DIDN’T NOTICE 2PAY-Z! Many cats, squirrels and cardinals futzed around in our backyard, and in fact 2Pay-Z’s dad spent some time harassing a black cat in our yard, constantly making a squawk noise that we came to learn means “THERE’S A FUCKING CAT!” The bird would repeatedly swoop down at the cat, coming within 2 or 3 feet. The cat finally vamoosed.
When I lived in Texas we had a Blue Jay in our back yard that would swoop down and buffet our cat with his wings day after day. The cat would merely be slinking across the yard and the bird would attack him, physically. The cat always just hunkered down and took the beating.
We noticed that there were two other cats lurking around our yard and Joe’s. A fat white cat named Rainy (belonging to a neighbor) kept trying to wander over to Joe’s driveway and I discouraged that by walking into the yard acting friendly towards Rainy. Nothing gets rid of Rainy faster than a kind word or an offer to pet him. However, while I was doing that, the black cat had returned to Joe’s garage, and the Jays were making a racket as the cat crept closer and closer to the Jeep-top home of our precious 2Pay-Z . I chased the black cat away, meowing at it angrily.
Finally one of the parental Jays landed on the Jeep. It hopped up to the roof. We were holding our breath in suspense as we watched. It hopped up to the stewpot, leaned over and looked in. I could imagine it thinking, “Now that is the fattest Blue Jay chick I have ever seen.” Then it flew straight up to the nest, presumably to discuss with its mate the apparent reappearance of their lost child 2Pay-Z . Was it really he? Why was he in a stewpot? How did he get so fat? Why didn’t the humans eat him, in that case? It must have been quite some conversation. Eventually the other Blue Jay flew down to the stewpot, leaned over and stared directly at 2Pay-Z ‘s open begging maw for a long time… and then just FLEW AWAY. We hoped he or she would return with food, and sure enough, after about 5 minutes, the parent was back and this time it leaned over and very obviously urped up some stuff into 2Pay-Z ‘s craw.
We celebrated! We were free of responsibility! 2Pay-Z was back with his family! It was just like in the cartoons!
But then the evil black cat returned! The Jays began squawking in unison. It sounded like a police siren. I ran down to Joe’s yard and chased the cat away again, and as I strolled back by the nest and the Jeep, this time the birds did not squawk at me.
Wei and I went back to watching from afar. We were having a blast. Now that 2Pay-Z had been fed some good nutritious upchuck by his Ma, he was feeling spunky. He leapt out of the stewpot-nest onto the Jeep roof, looked around, hopped back in, and then jumped onto the edge of the stewpot where he merely perched for a long time.
By now 2Pay-Z was evidently seeing himself as a regular grown up Blue Jay. He was obviously feeling his oats. He hopped out of the stewpot, did a little dance, and then slid right down the windshield of the Jeep onto the hood, where he staggered around, a bit stunned. His mom seemed perturbed when he then flopped off the Jeep hood and onto the ground. The adult Jays were staying near him and making a lot of noise, so we figured our job was done. We had done everything by the book, put 2Pay-Z back in his parents’ care, so we should let nature take its course.
part four tomorrow