Cleaning the Gutters


This week’s photo, taken November 6, 2013 from our house in northeast Seattle, WA, features a STELLER’S JAY, perhaps the same jay that minutes earlier helped me with a house chore.

Wednesday afternoon, I glance out our bedroom window and notice a flurry of bird activity in the backyard. I promptly rush to my man cave, grab my camera and return for a photo opportunity. As I slide open the window, I count about a dozen DARK-EYED JUNCOS on the ground and a few BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES in the trees. A BEWICK’S WREN is behaving like a creeper as it crawls up the trunk of our conifer tree, and a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, probably the same one that first visited us in September, is drilling more sap holes in our cherry tree.

Above my head, a STELLER’S JAY clings to our rain gutter and aggressively tosses debris out of the gutter as it searches for something to eat. From my vantage point, I can only see the jay’s tail and legs, and the bird has no idea that I’m close enough to reach up and tug on its tail. Unfortunately, it flies away before the gutters are completely clean. Hopefully, it will return soon to finish the job.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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2 Responses to Cleaning the Gutters

  1. Chris VB says:

    I used to like this bird, until I read that Stellar’s Jays are responsible for the failure of 70% of nest attempts of the Marbled Murrelets, as seen by nest cams. Eggs and newborn chicks are one of the corvid’s favorite foods.

  2. Brenda Peterson says:

    So beautiful!

    Thank you!


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