The blue jay’s joint and toe remain slightly swollen but he is starting to flex the toe a bit and put weight on the foot. The general consensus seems to be that this is some sort of nest injury that was aggravated when he started trying to put weight on it initially.
Meanwhile, he is—as most blue jays are—a shameless little beggar who thus far refuses to eat anything on his own. I’ve even hand-fed him bits of blueberry, usually a blue jay treat, which he eagerly snaps into his beak…and then carefully spits back out. This isn’t the usual food caching that blue jays will do, however, as he doesn’t bother to hide it—just spits it out and looks at me expectantly, waiting for the “good stuff.” He also likes to sling the “good stuff”, so his little face gets swabbed down every couple of feedings to prevent food build-up.
The screech is self-feeding…sort of. He still can’t handle an entire mouse, even if it’s slit open, but he can eagerly chow down on bite-sized chunks of mouse. As soon as he can eat an entire mouse without it having to be cut up or open for him, he’ll be moved to the flight pen—with his size, he’ll do fine in the songbird flight (with no songbirds in it, of course, folks—I mean, really!).
By the next day, the swelling had gone down considerably. The greenish fluid you see is his eye drops; I had just medicated him when I snapped these photos.
For those who’re unfamiliar with barnies, they’re…umm…unique in the owl world for their vocalizations. They sound like a woman being murdered. One wit has said they sound like all the banshees in hell have been let loose. When these three cut loose as I was moving them from the dog crate they’d been brought to me in, it was loud but not too horrible; after all, we were outside, so there was somewhere for the sound to go.
Inside, however…oh, inside…How best to describe a barnie’s shriek in an enclosed space? It resonates through your entire body. You feel it down to the soles of your feet. Your brain rattles around in your skull, demanding that the ungodly din cease immediately. You feel the need to check your ears for bleeding from ruptured ear drums…It’s deafeningly, ear-piercingly, painfully loud, in other words.
And these three occasionally cut loose en masse. Oh. My. God. You have no idea…banshees from hell is a pretty apt description, come to think of it…
The video clips below feature only the warning hisses and mild shrieks warning of things to come if I didn’t go away. I was afraid the full-on shrieks would cause the camcorder to self-destruct…