I think it's official: she's a real bird now.
When I came back from Delaware, I saw a big change in Baby. While she stills comes for crickets, I now only see her about once a day, sometimes less. She'll fly to the porch railing and begrudgingly get on my finger, but once I give her a cricket or half a grape (she loves them), she quickly flies to a nearby pine tree to eat it.What conflict I feel! The naturalist side of me wants her to be a successful and independent blue jay while the maternal side of me wants her to need me forever! I know that as she continues to become a better forager, she'll come around less and less.
How do I know that she's now good at finding food? Well, she's still alive and I've been out of town 11 of the last 14 days (I know. I'm exhausted). That means she's doing something right.
The night I got home from Delaware, her feathers were stained red. Of course, my first thought was that she had narrowly escaped attack by a bird of prey while I was gone (what is wrong with me?). It was berry juice.
Since I have gotten home, I've watched her attack insects on the ground that she spots from her favorite pine branch. And I've scolded her for bullying a pair of cardinals in the weeping yaupon holly outside my office window. Like Pinocchio with his strings cut, Baby has become a real bird.
I've been gone for three days now. I wonder if she'll come around at all when I get back. The thought just made my mouth turn down at the corners and my eyes glimmer a bit. I'm not sure if she will.
P.S. The picture is from my first week with Baby. She looked so pathetic when she held her wings like that. It still pulls at my heartstrings to see that!