Thursday, February 22, 2024

Missing a tail

Years ago at our old place, we had an incident where a chicken was nearly caught by a coyote. She managed to escape, but at the price of losing – literally – her entire tail. You can read about it here.

It seems a similar fate has befallen a Steller's jay that hangs around the bird feeder. He (or she, I can't tell the difference) is missing its tail, either from a coyote or some other predator.

Poor thing looks like half a jay.

On the other hand, it's alive – which is more than can be said for any encounter with a predator.

What a tale it must have!


  1. Steller's jays are so pretty. We don't have them in the East. My rotten dog killed a cardinal in front of me last evening. I felt so, so bad.

    1. A dead, half eaten cardinal was right off my deck a couple days ago. Probably the cat. The cat who Plays with rodents, not eat them or kill them. Makes me ill because I love birds.

    2. The cardinal flew in a slightly opened window. I opened all the windows in the room as wide as they'd go, and tried to urge it to leave, but it kept fluttering around. Then it the closed half of the window, fell on the ground and my dog pounced. I felt so terrible. Poor thing wanted to be let out and was crunched by a beagle.

  2. We had a fox attack a few months ago and it was horrible. I think it was a pair because feathers trailed off in opposite directions.
    It took almost all day before all my hens came out of hiding. One was lost, but the yard looked like a massacre. Front, back, sides, across the road, down the hill in back. Several were missing feathers, but the poor rooster got plucked. His butt was bare underneath, and on top. Behind his head, all under his right wing and chest, plucked. And his whole body razed by teeth that apparently couldn't get a grip on anything. But I was so proud of him. Everywhere there were hen feathers there were rooster feathers. And piles of just his feathers crossed the road and headed down that hill, while the dog was fighting something down behind the house. They saved my flock.
    The rooster was very sore for days and took turns standing on one leg then the other, and he was a sight to behold a few months. But now he's feathered back in. I don't think all the tail feathers came back, but he looks like a good lookin man again. Such a mighty warrior!
    The dog too, but he didn't get hurt.
    I think when you have critters you just about have to have a good guard dog. It helps if they're raised from a puppy with the critters.

    1. wow. your chooks must have better survival skills than mine. mine would perch on my side porch, one day a hawk attacked and got one. within an hour, they were back to perching on my porch like Nothing ever happened.

    2. My chickens grieved, for days. Like a funeral, or a shock maybe. No eggs. Her best friend flew up into my lap a day or so later for the first time and "talked and talked" to me. She had lost her first best friend the year before who got egg bound.
      I don't really know because I don't speak chicken, but I felt in the middle of all that "talking" she was asking me to be her special friend. And we are. She flys up and lands on me to snuggle or chat all the time.
      And they don't wander off very far now.
      I really give a ton of credit to the big strong rooster and the dog who hates varmints. They both protected their "family".
      I don't know what causes group dynamics to be one way with one group and different with another. But my animals are all pretty tight with each other.

  3. Wait a minute ... is no one going to address the pun in Patrice's last sentence? You know she felt a little bit clever when she did that. :-)
    Good one. Thumbs up. - Paul D

  4. Now it is a lower case j.

  5. Had a squirrel in our old neighborhood that lost its tail. Funniest looking thing when it would do its squirrel jump across the road, because there was no tail fluidly following behind.