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Nature's Alarm System ~~ the Blue Jay
by John Braswell

We are all familiar with the North American blue jay -- that beautiful bird that is so common we often overlook it. The jay, recognized by its bright colors of blue, black and white, seems to shine as though dressed in apparel meant to impress. Believe me that’s not the case! The jay couldn’t care less about what you might think. The bird reminds me of some people I have met -- nice to look at until they open their mouths, then the beauty fades quickly.

I remember when I was in grade school there was this one girl who was very pretty, but she would run and tell the teacher on anyone and everyone for anything. Yes, the jay is kinda like that pretty girl . . . too much mouth.

Now that you have read my opening statement I can go ahead and make my case against the jay.

Have you ever wanted to photograph wildlife? Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? You go into the wild, armed with your state-of-the-art digital camera, hoping you can get that one picture that will live forever. You slip through the forest as quiet as a church mouse only to find nothing is there except you and a rather obnoxious bird.

Congratulations! You have just met nature's alarm system, the North American blue jay. The brazen, boisterous, beauty has already warned all of God's creatures of your presence, so you may as well take pictures of the trees. The only pictures of wildlife you will get that day are of the jay or maybe yourself. You knew the instant the tattletale bird discovered your location your day was shot.

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a blue jay? You were probably just a child, and you might have said something like, "Oh, look at the pretty birdie." If there happened to be more knowledgeable persons with you at the time, (maybe adults), they might have made a face like a bug had flown into their mouths. They might have even had a few choice words to say about the dirty bird. Even through the eyes of an innocent child, the bright beauty of the jay may have dimmed somewhat after that.

Now, as an adult, you know there is very little you can do to save the day. You might try throwing things or waving your arms at the squawking pest, but the best you can hope for is for the bird to fly a short distance away. You can be certain that at this point the jay is broadcasting not only where you are, but that you might be crazy as well.

Try camping and the jay will educate you to the fine art of thievery. Yes, the jay is not only a tattletale, but a thief too. Your wife’s hair ribbon, a loose piece of jewelry, or your car keys are all fair game. Anything the jay can get into its mouth and fly away with is considered spoils of war. Yes, I said war! If it wasn’t a war when you got there, it will be before you leave.

A picnic! Are you crazy? Haven’t you learned anything yet? You can’t have a picnic with a jay around! Well, there might be one way. Invite the bird to be the guest of honor. Set a place and fix it a plate, but be advised that the rude guest might want to eat off your plate as well. Be careful not to shortchange the guest of honor when dishing out the food. If your helpings look larger, your famished feathered friend might be offended -- and you certainly wouldn’t want that.

In the scheme of things, concerning nature, everything has a purpose. As for the blue jay, I believe its main reason for being here is that it is nature's alarm system. (Or maybe just a pest.)

Here, kitty, kitty . . .


John Braswell tells us about himself:

"I have lived and traveled throughout the South and Midwest, which offers me a unique perspective about the day-by-day lifestyle of the people in these regions. My first novel, Coop, What if the South had won the Civil War? was published by Publish America in 2001 and my second novel, The Other Side of the Mountain, a Native American story, was released in April 2004, also by Publish America.

"To order COOP: What if the South had won the Civil War?, please visit your local bookstore (ISBN # 1-58851-919-8) or e-mail me. Read an excerpt here.

"I have been published by: The Pantagraph, Up Dare?, The Red Ribbon Review, Accent for Living, Mouth magazine and online by PageWise Inc and About.com.

"I am a member of the United Authors Association, The Illinois Authors Association and the Illinois Center for the Book. I was also nominated for placement in the 2003 Who’s Who in America. For more samples of my writing, please visit my web site: www.authorsden.com/johnobraswell. Kick your shoes off and stay awhile!"

Contact John at kawheeta@hotmail.com


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