A lot of people right now are having trouble getting into proper habits with regard to social distancing. Blue Jays, who understand how epidemics work after so many were killed by West Nile Virus, are stepping up to the plate to help us remember to keep our distance from one another.
A cadre of local jays got the ball rolling. Whenever they spotted two people within 6 feet of each other, the same distance as a Turkey Vulture’s wingspan, they started squawking to beat the band. If the people didn’t immediately step apart, the jays flew in and pecked them on the head.
That led to a couple of emergency room visits, not a good thing right now, so they’ve learned to peck hard enough to be noticed while not drawing blood. This has worked so well in northern Minnesota that word got out on the Blue Jay Network, going viral so to speak, and now jays from New York and Florida all the way to the West are hitting people on the head whenever they see them too close together.
Blue Jays are of course true blue, but they never ever put political conditions on whether they help anyone in trouble. They’re perfectly willing to band with apolitical crows and mockingbirds and the reddest robins to deal with shared enemies threatening their lives. If a Blue Jay noticed a fox creeping up on a squirrel or robin or anyone else, they couldn’t even imagine demanding that that potential victim had to “treat them well” before the jays would fly in and mob the fox. Blue Jays don’t care if you love them or hate them, just so’s you keep your distance from other people during this crisis. And speaking of Blue Jays, here’s a word from our sponsor:
This is me, Jim Baker, from Baker’s Blue Jay Barn.
You know, back in 1987 when I retreated to the woods with nothing but my Blue Jays and my bagpipes, it never occurred to me that social distancing would make my lifestyle the ideal for millions of Americans. It would be stupid to take up the bagpipes now—if you have neighbors within a thousand yards, they would cut your life short quicker than even the most novel virus could.
But even in towns and cities, you can hunker down with Blue Jays, which will raise your spirits even if they can’t protect you from disease. All you need is some Baker’s Blue Jay Blend, now with free delivery straight to your door.
Yep, get the bird feed epidemiologists recommend most, Baker’s Blue Jay Blend. Available only at Baker’s Blue Jay Barn—Up the shore a ways.The more I read the paper,
The less I comprehend
This terrifying virus.
And how it all will end.
Deaths exponentially rising,
Self-quarantining, on our guard.
But something’s joyful and permanent
Right here in our own backyard.
It’s very clear Blue Jays are here to stay.
Not for a year, but ever and a day.
Nurses and doctors, exhausted, defenseless,
Trump boasting ‘bout his ratings boom,
Will end along with dark times,
Social distancing, too.
But oh, my dear, Blue Jays are here to stay.
Together we can hunker at home all day.
In time his ratings will tumble,
The virus will crumble,
We’ll put our masks away,
But Blue Jays are here to stay.
The California Ravens features Katherine Erickson at the keyboard; Jim Baker is performed as always by John Keenan.