The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Gray Jays’

Whisky Jack

We had our first night when the damp in the air turns hard and coats the growling machine we travel in and some of the greenery.

I wasn’t the only one to notice. Elizabeth actually knew it was going to happen before it did, and she spent the evening before putting two-legger fur over the growing places to keep the stuff the two-leggers eat warm. By morning, though, others had noticed, too. I’m thinking particularly of some free-loading friends of Elizabeth’s, who always seem to come around – especially when it gets a bit chilly in the morning. There are several of them, but Elizabeth has the same name she uses for all of them: Whisky Jack.

The Whisky Jacks are medium sized flappers – a bunch of very friendly jokers who never seem to take life seriously. They really like Elizabeth a lot. We’ll be out in the middle of the woods on her trails in the deep of winter, and a Whisky Jack will fall out of the trees and land on a branch right beside her for a chat. Elizabeth will put out her hand and one will come and sit on it. No other flappers seem to do this so readily as Whisky Jacks. And even though there are only three or four that hang out at the two-legger house regularly, they all seem to know Elizabeth for miles around.

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Elizabeth says that, although they seem like clowns, Whisky Jacks are actually very intelligent members of a bigger family called Corvids, which includes some other very annoying larger black flappers Elizabeth calls Crows and Ravens. “I think God put Whisky Jacks here to put smiles on people’s faces. You can’t have an encounter with a Whisky Jack and not come away smiling.” She also says that recent research she heard about – research is something two-leggers do to keep busy – scientists (two-leggers who spend nearly all their time researching) have discovered that Jays (some other two-leggers call Whisky Jacks Gray or Canada Jays) and other Corvids learn to tell two-leggers apart, and teach their youngsters and neighbours which ones are good friends and which ones are dangerous. Maybe that’s why they all like her.

They have a different effect on me. They get my nose twitching. Everytime they come around, and everytime Elizabeth puts her hand out for them to land on, I could swear I smell breakfast. Then one day last week, I discovered exactly why that is. Kay went out and was calling the Whisky Jacks, but they weren’t coming for her the way they do for Elizabeth. She couldn’t wait for them and went back inside. I started to follow her down the walkway, when I smelled something good. On every upright piece of wood along the walkway, Kay had put something tasty for the flappers.

I have trouble understanding why Kay would do this when she has me around. It’s not like I’m unappreciative of treats like these. Why waste them on a bunch of free-loading flappers? I walked on the grass side of the walkway and considered the situation. Then I got back up onto the walkway. I gave a little jump and got my paws up on the railing just below the top. I could just get my nose to the treats, but not my mouth. So, I pushed them off the uprights with my nose, got back on all fours and ran around to the grassy side to pick them up and eat them. I continued almost all the way down to the end of the walkway.

I left the last two for the Whisky Jacks.

I didn’t always used to like them at all. Elizabeth’s my two-legger, not theirs, and often when I saw them, I’d bark and chase them off. They’d flap up to the top of the fence around Elizabeth’s growing place and stare at me, sometimes make a noise back at me. It was almost as if they were quietly laughing at me! But Elizabeth really is fond of them, and they don’t seem to do her any harm. So I tolerate them now. And sometimes, when they fly in low, land on the top of the post that lights up at night… and slide off, even I can’t help but smile a little.

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