Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Meet Joyce and Tor--a delightful pair of aviatrixs--guest of mine for a few days. Tor is a very young scrub jay (short for rapTOR the genus she belongs to) given to Joyce just 4 days ago by an animal rescue shelter because it wouldn't eat. Not a problem for Joyce, who really is a bird whisperer and had it eating right away. She's rescued many birds over the years--has an aviary in her back yard---is especially fond of crows. One day while we were walking in town we heard a god-awful sound in the distance which she immediately identified as the begging call of an immature crow not quite ready to feed itself---I doubted--we located the source--sure enough --a mother crow was being badgered by her lazy offspring.
Tor also is reluctant to feed itself--so Joyce demonstrates the training proces.
Tor wants the food put directly in its mouth--and Joyce obliges---for a few bites---Then gradually distances--as she makes a feeding sound and points to food on the cutting board. In minutes the bird "got it" and was happily pecking away.
She taught me how to invite Tor into my life---a wonderful feeling to hold a willing wild bird.
In no time at all I became a trusted friend. You know you have a friend when they begin to take you for granted.
Curious and very active--always wanting to be where the action is.
And seemingly always hungry---not shy announcing it---learning I am an easy touch.
She will eat her fill-----and then---
start hiding food---here she puts a tidbit under the remote.
We're not sure why she does this---looked like sunbathing.
Very playful---here pecking away at my buttons.
Especially liked sitting on my head.
And suddenly she wanted to nap---AAAAHHHH--right there on my arm---how adorable----I just waited till her nap was over--you would have too!

Tomorrow I will pick up our wilderness adventure story--show you the pilot sun dance and take you with me into the inner circle of a pilot cluster.
UPDATE: Just received word that Tor is already flying outside freely---shows up for mealtime as expected. Joyce says that the separation process to full independence takes only about 2 weeks at which time the bird is on its own and will no longer come to humans.
UPDATE: Mon 8/23/10---Joyce reports that Tor is now spending days and nights outside on its own and will occasionally come when called. But Sunday night he showed up at the window demanding to be let in---she did---and it spent the night on a curtain rod and shared breakfast the next day before flying away.


Steve said...

I really loved this update!


Jude said...

Wowzier Randy! What a mouth on that bird!

Bob Parker And Donna Huffer said...

I met a man who had a wild bird living in his RV. Had an overhead cabinet where the bird nested but when the door was open the bird would fly in & out at will.

Dixxe said...

WOnderful post..Im so glad that Tor is doing well I know what fun birds can be, I spent 2 yrs as a Bird of Prey Rehab center volunteer...so many rewards for that kind of work!! I also rehabed crows, hummingbirds, and other critters--

SJ-21 said...

I love jays and crows. However, I'd like to point out that Tor is not a raptor but a corvid. The family Corvidae includes all crows, jays, rooks, jackdaws, etc. Raptors are hawks, eagles, vultures, etc.

Nice story.