Birds Gone Wild


This week’s photo, taken September 4, 2014 in Mount Rainier National Park, WA, features a GRAY JAY on the offensive.

My second visit in less than 3 weeks to Mount Rainier National Park produces another incredibly scenic hike, as well as another interesting day of birding. This time, some of the birds (and one particular mammal) boldly go where few animals have gone before; that is, they fearlessly and shamelessly come toward us instead of dashing off for cover.

When we reach our hike’s highest point, on Burroughs Mountain, where we stop and relax to take in the magnificent view of the big mountain (Rainier), a chipmunk pays us a visit to help us eat our snacks. Even after we order it to back off, it refuses to take no for an answer. Fortunately, the relentless rodent doesn’t follow us during our return trek down the mountain.

Later on, we stop at a view point for a break, and the moment I place my bagel on a rock, a CLARK’S NUTCRACKER zooms in and lands a short distance away. Clearly, this member of the jay family wishes to add bagel with cream cheese to its diet. When I lift my camera to take photos of the brazen bird, it hops in closer, hoping to steal my meal while I have both hands on my camera and lens. I quickly cover the bagel with one hand, and the bird flies to a nearby tree. I lift my camera again with both hands, and the Nutcracker again flies in to seize the moment (and the bagel), until I once again protect my food with my hand.

The Bold Bird of the Day Award goes to a GRAY JAY that does more than approach us; it actually lands on my friend’s head and spends a minute nibbling at his cap. Maybe it’s looking for food, maybe it’s trying to intimidate us, or perhaps the jay just wants to pick his brain.

View Joe’s Best Bird Photos at:


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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3 Responses to Birds Gone Wild

  1. Chris says:

    A memorable day.

  2. Brad Snyder says:

    Love love love this shot!

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Scott Dean says:

    Relentless Corvids. We suspect Magpies or Ravens for the recent theft of some plump, red tomatoes off our back deck.

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