I know the title of this post sounds like a silly band name, but this is actually about our cat Tiki and a bunch of Garrulous Jays. These birds just love to tease our cats by parroting their meows and getting them to climb onto high branches in our trees, only to fly into the next tree and to start over, hoping to fool them twice. They also whistle and imitate other species of birds.

This particular morning, about 7-8 jays descended onto one of our paulownia trees and began to chirp in a way we hadn’t heard before. They also raised up the crests of feathers on the tops of their heads, which was also something we hadn’t seen before. Perhaps it was their mating ritual and they were trying to impress a female. Well, our curiousity was piqued, so I got my camera for a closer look. Tiki also couldn’t resist the challenge, even though he’s been fooled by them plenty of times before. Up the tree he went while the jays retreated to higher branches and kept a close eye on him while they chatted and chirped for about 10 minutes, then flew away unmolested.

Sorry Tiki, fooled again!

Places

Tiki and the Jays

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Thoughts

The Singing Cockatiel

YouTube user pokomarichard posted this wonderful video of her cockatiel singing along to “Totoro”. I love it!

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Thoughts

Sasha sleeps under my desk

When she was a kitten, Sasha would come in after a full day of playing outside and fall asleep at my feet, right on (or curled around) the power bricks for my computer equipment. She was and still is so adorable. Enjoy this short video clip of her during one of her frequent visits to Dreamland.

Bonus: a video clip featuring an Indian male peafowl (a peacock) strutting his amazing tail feathers for us.

Enjoy!

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Thoughts

A fallen feather

How often do we find a fallen feather on the ground and we take it for granted? We tend to forget the miracles that occur around us daily, flight being one such grand miracle of life, enabled by a little thing like this.

The birds we seldom notice, unless they muck up our freshly washed cars, are able to do something no human being has been able to do so far, without the aid of an engineered mechanism. They’re able to take flight, freely, and soar high above the ground, surveying all they can see, while humans are stuck on the ground.

These seemingly simple feathers are what make it happen (in part). Except they’re not so simple. When you look at them under a microscope, you begin to see all sorts of mechanisms that help interlock each fiber (or barbule) together. They’re rightly called some of “the most complex integumentary appendages found in vertebrates” (see this for more).

For quite a lot of our history, feathers were used as writing instruments, as stuffing for pillows and quilts, as decoration on clothing, in artwork and if legend is to be thought true, in the artificial wings constructed by Daedalus. So I think it befitting that we take a moment to admire the beautiful design of this instrument of flight.

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Places

A swan preens itself

A large white swan preens itself while floating on a pond, on a hot summer day. I filmed this at the same location as the stag.

I’ve never seen a water fowl hold one of its feet so persistently in the air while preening. I’ve seen geese do it from time to time, but only for a few seconds. This swan was bent on doing it for a long time! 🙂

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