DEAR JOAN: We have two blue jays who are terrorizing our cat, Kato.
Whenever and wherever she is outside, they come up to her and start squawking. They prance by her and come up to within 10 feet of her, and Kato makes no attempt to chase them. In the morning, she is cowering at the front door and they are on the grass aggravating her.
Kato can be inside on the window sill, or inside our sun room on a chair, and they will yak at her. How do they even know where she is?
Our cat has been known to catch mice, rats, birds and even a squirrel, but she wants nothing to do with the blues. What are they up to? And, why is the cat so fearful?
DEAR JOE: It might help to think of the Western scrub jay not as some berserk bully bird, but as a soldier in an elite military corps. These intelligent and resourceful birds make it their business to patrol our yards and streets, keeping out troublemakers and making the world safer for, well, for scrub jays.
They see Kato as the enemy. Never mind that this is Kato's home, the jays see her as an interloper with weapons of mass destruction. When they see her, they sound the battle cry and attempt to drive her from the area. The fact that she is indoors and presenting no threat at all is a distinction lost on the jays. Do they take a certain perverse enjoyment in being able to bully a cat? Well, when you start attributing human emotions and motivations to animals, you start down a slippery slope, but yeah, I think they sort of enjoy it. They certainly are good at it.
In turn, Kato recognizes superior fire power and knows better than to tangle with a jay, unless she can figure out how to sneak up on one or hire a hit hawk to do her dirty work. She is wise to keep her distance. I've seen a jay dive-bomb and chase a squirrel from one side of the street to the other.
Like their cousins the crows, jays remember faces and every insult that may be visited upon them, so it's best to stay on their good side.
DEAR JOAN: For the past three weeks or more, a large robin has been flying into our closed kitchen window every day. He or she starts about 7 a.m. and continues to hit the window for the next couple of hours.
We have put up metallic ribbon to try to discourage the robin, however that hasn't seem to deter this unusual behavior. We could be standing in the kitchen observing this behavior and the robin ignores us and continues flying into the window.
Is there anything we can do to stop this behavior? Do you have any idea why this bird is flying into our window so regularly?
Rick and Peggy Booth
DEAR RICK AND PEGGY: The robin is most likely a male who is seeing his own reflection in your window and trying to protect his territory and probably a nest of eggs.
At that time of day, the window is sort of like a mirror. As the sun's position changes, he can no longer see himself and so he believes he has driven the intruder away.
Once the young birds have fledged, you should be OK. In the meantime, cover the outside of the window with something that prevents it from being reflective, such as newspaper or cardboard.