Every summer, a pair of brown thrashers moves into our backyard around the middle of June and tries to completely take over. They are so territorial, they chase off, not only other thrashers, but every other bird that strays into our yard.
Now, there must be enough seed and suet and bread crumbs and water in that back yard to feed an entire army of birds. But, I'm sure, if asked, the brown thrashers would say: That is hardly the point.
And, it evidently isn't the point. Since if food scarcity were their concern, that wouldn't be constantly harassing our two cats and sometimes us. We can be minding our own business, in our own yard, and one of them will light on a nearby limb or section of the fence and glare furiously at us chirping ill temperedly, probably drumming their little toes in impatience for us to go back inside the house.
This summer, however, the brown thrashers are not without challengers. The main challengers seem to be the blue jays who have already brought their babies to the feeders. The Jay family, in fact, is so bold, its members quite happily light on the bird feeder nearest the patio while we're sitting there, and even come to eat seeds from a saucer I put on the wrought iron patio table.
But, the Jay Family's, like most families, has a problem. And it is a most annoying problem. This problem is a child who we have taken to calling Baby Huey who is every bit as big as either of his parents. But, unfortunately, he seems to be like one of those teenagers who refuses to move out of the house.
We had heard him squawking and screaming kicking up a rumpus for weeks in the woods before we finally saw him. Then, one day I spotted him up on a branch, screeching and flapping his wings the way baby birds do when they are encouraging their parents to feed them. And, sure enough, an adult jay was popping seeds into Baby Huey's mouth.
Last week I saw this recalcitrant child perched on the ground not a foot away from a huge pile of bird seeds, knocked out of the bird feeder by an enterprising squirrel, doing the same thing - flapping his wings and squawking demanding that somebody come and put food in his mouth. This time, nobody came. His parents must have finally drawn the line. Several mornings later, I saw him standing in the pile of seeds, still squawking and flapping his wings just hoping that some parent would come by and feed him.
This behavior reminded me of a cat I once had, who would never eat cat nip out of the garden unless you fed it to him. He would come get you and ask for it, and when you got up, he would lead you to the plant, so, he knew exactly where it was, but he would never just go over there and eat it himself.
When I told my mother this story, her comment was: "Just like a man. Always wanting somebody to wait on him."