My little blue jay is doing very well and on Sunday Mike and I decided to see if he was ready to leave. Normally when I open the cage, he looks like this...
... saying "feed me" with his wings flapping. Or, he looks ilke this...
...with a sunflower seed in his mouth. Isn't he getting handsome?
He doesn't try to escape when the door is open and seems relatively happy in his confined space. Not that I would ever keep him in a cage; I can't wait until he's out on his own doing grown-up blue jay activities - like joining his blue jay friends and harassing Sophie when she is skulking about.
But he was looking pretty grown-up and he had practiced flying quite a bit where he would fly from my hand back to his cage over and over again. So Mike and I took him out of the cage to do a test fly. Here he is with Mike, sitting on his hand.
Mike turned around and faced the woods and bluejay flew up to a limb of the closest tree.
And Sophie found it all very interesting, making me nervous.
He eventually flew waaaay up onto a tall oak tree branch where I could barely see him. I watched and watched, wondering if he'd just take off and disappear. After about an hour or so, I started talking to him more and I could see he had his mouth open and was flapping his wings when I spoke - like when he is hungry. Awww... can he even find his own meal? I kept talking to him and he kept talking back and slowly flew down, level by level by level and ... came back! He sat on the lowest branch where I could reach him, so I picked him up and put in back in his cage and fed him. He came back! I was glad because it was obvious he wasn't quite ready to leave; he couldn't even pick up his own food with is beak! He wanted to, but couldn't figure out that he had to open his beak to get the food. Silly fella.
But today he seems more ready. His attitude is changing and he seems more restless. I caught him eating seeds out of the food bowl in the cage (when he didn't know I was looking) so I know he can eat on his own now. But, he's like a child and when he sees me, he opens his mouth and flaps his wings for me to feed him.
I'd really like to get up a bird feeder up before I let him go... just as insurance so he'll have access to food until his independence kicks into full gear. It'll be up in the tree where the cats are a safe distance away. I've enjoyed taking care of this little guy since the 4th of July, but I know he'll be gone soon. He's taken trips with Mike and me to doctor's appointments and anytime we were going to be gone for more than an hour. Our last trip was a long drive and he sat on Mike's head and took a nap on the way home. I'm sure I will miss his presence and antics, but will be happy to see him take off on his own - very soon.