Confrontation between a Blue Jay and a Cardinal, Katy, TX


An interesting drama played out the other day in the garden. I am not really sure what it was all about, but I noticed a cardinal fly up into the dense leaves of the shrubs and trees. What followed was a tussel with noise and shaking in the branches. I clould tell if it was between he and a blue jay which I knew to have been there already. Soon they fell out and flew to the nearby swimming pool where I quickly grabbed my camera to record the scene. On the rim of the pool things were tense with the blue jay standing tall and very threatening over the cardinal. The cardinal itself was crouched down into a submissive posture as seen in the photo above. In the photo the blue jay has just noticed my involvement by taking photos, but immediately prior it was glaring (if I can use such a word with birds) at the cardinal. That was pretty much the end of the story, the jay, having made its point I presume, turned and left, still the baddest beastie of the backyard.

I have to wonder what sort of dispute can arise between these birds. They have lived together in harmony most or all their lives and they have separate habits and needs. I believe the cardinal started the imbroglio, but why on earth pick a fight it cannot win? It is curious and I wish to share this photo. If anyone has more insights please let me know!

Time has passed and more observations to consider. This spring I have noted the protective way our cardinals defend their young and also the interest that blue jays can show in the same. The confrontation described above then takes on a new meaning! I considered the cardinal above to be crouching in a submissive position, this I have seen since and I can say that, rather than submissive, the cardinal is wound up tight as a spring and ready to launch itself at the jay should it come to this. No end of drama in the garden!



Go back....