Hiking Adventure With Bird Encounter

This Sunday morning’s hike took me through meadows and Aspen groves in one of Colorado’s State Parks. At one point, I sat on a bench to eat a snack, and I had just packed away the remaining food, when three Gray Jays dived toward me, reminding me of Hitchcock’s The Birds. At the last minute, they seemed to remember their manners and settled instead on an Aspen tree near the bench, but one of them dive-bombed me three times while I held up my phone to take photos.
Gray Jays are also known as “Camp Robbers” because they miraculously show up wherever there is food to find. Beats me how they knew I was sitting on that bench eating a snack. According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, the Gray Jay is unusually tame and habitually goes into camps to steal food. The book didn’t mention dive-bombing and harassing.
Since my first encounters with Gray Jays years ago, I have always had the impression that they were just extremely friendly birds, but I have never seen them behave as brazenly as they did today. Maybe they thought they could steal some lunch off me. No way, guys.


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