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FROM READERS: Bluebird parents grapple over dinner choice

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | 4:45 p.m. CDT
A male blue bird carrying a spider in his beak is denied entry to the nest. He returned a few minutes later with a juicy worm, which apparently met with the female's approval.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years. Hall was also recently featured in a Columbia Missourian article, in which he reminisced about his days as a bat boy in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri Baseball League.

A single event in the back yard usually is the catalyst to force me to bring the camera outside and take a few photos.

Early Saturday morning there was a lot of racket in the Sycamore tree. My wife looked up and pointed out that a mother Blue Jay had just given its newly hatched offspring something to eat. So, I dragged the big lens up to shooting position and began to fire away.

(If you can't see the slideshow embedded above, view it on Flickr here.)

It appeared that the baby jay was eating something off the bark of the tree, and I really didn't concentrate on what it was eating. When I finally downloaded the photos to the computer and pulled them up to full screen size, I figured out what the newborn was pecking at for about 15 minutes. It was nothing more than a common house fly, if indeed they can be called "common."

Thus, if you pull up the blue jay photos to screen size you might enjoy the reaction of the baby of that species eating its first fly.

On Saturday I was the witness to another backyard scene that involved the blue bird family. I watched dad blue bird spend a good 20 minutes attempting to get in the nest. Usually, he will bring food, the female will let him in, she'll carry out the diaper droppings and then return with food and the male is back to work.

This time, however, the male was refused entry. He flew from the nest into my tomato patch then up into a tree and all around the yard still carrying food in his beak. Finally, I zoomed in on him and there wasn't any doubt what he had brought home for the babies to eat. It was a good size spider.

Mom kept refusing him entry. He made one final attempt to persuade her to provide the babies some spider protein and mom was adamantly opposed. The last photo in that set shows him heading out from the nest with spider in beak. A few minutes later he was back with a big worm that was "oozing green" and that morsel was welcomed by mom.

The remaining photos are filler. In the batch is the 14.5-year-old Miss Banshee who thinks her day isn't complete unless she checks out the hosta patch. The grackles hang out there as well since there is a water source in that location. After the grackle photo is a baby robin, a baby rabbit that was hiding in my tomato patch and two dogs that do everything in their power to guard the yard.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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