Our Scrub Jay

This is our local Western Scrub Jay (we call him "Bub"). He's quite a character. He's been inspecting the feeder for a week and he finally took the plunge today. Once he figured it out, he came and went all day long, taking as many as three Bark Butter Bits at a time. He reminded me of a chipmunk with a mouth full of acorns. Hilarious.

Though they are sometimes maligned for being the bullies of the garden, I quite enjoy watching these intelligent creatures. They have an inquisitiveness that always makes them fascinating to watch. You can literally see them thinking and sizing up a situation. Here's some information about their intelligence from Wikipedia:

Recent research has suggested that western scrub jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult scrub jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub jays are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin shown to plan ahead for the future, which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait. Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay. To protect their caches from pilfering conspecifics, scrub-jays will choose locations out-of-sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others. California scrub jays also summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay, according to new research from the University of California, Davis. The birds' cacophonous "funerals" can last for up to half an hour.