Pine nuts with McAvoy Layne: A most charming bird | Carson City Nevada News
There’s more to a Steller’s Jay than we know. My pet Jay, Huckleberry, has been demonstrating over the past couple of days, two distinct emotions that I didn’t know about him or any bird.
First a bit of background, Huck was born in the summer of 2017 on my lower deck. I could see from the top deck that he was about to take off, so I spread a sleeping bag on the aisle below to soften his landing. He punched him squarely and looked up at me as if to say thank you, while his sisters took him on the chin. We’ve been friends ever since.
Huckleberry stops by three times a day, seven for breakfast, noon for lunch, and five for happy hour, when he is rewarded with a peeled and washed beer nut, and flies off, happy.
But Huckleberry has stunned and amazed me over the past few days with a display of personality traits I never thought possible in a bird.
The first was charming, disarming and fun. As I walked down the driveway towards the Recreation Center, Huckleberry positioned himself on a tree branch a little in front of me at eye level, and as I passed and looked at him, he flapped his wings. as if to say hello. It made me smile and I had to laugh frankly. I said, “You’re so crazy, Huckleberry. And of course, I had to wave back.
But the emotion he displayed yesterday beat anything I’ve ever seen. Arrived way too early for Happy Hour, I ignored it. He pecked at the window and I continued to ignore him. It flew to the screen door, anchored there, and flapped its wings. He flew up the mast and waved the American flag.
I still managed to ignore it, until finally, it flew away. But wait! At curtain time, 8 p.m., there he is again. So I whistled his favorite song, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and placed a Beer Nut on the rail.
Well, the most amazing thing happened. Huckleberry tilted his head to one side and up and down, so I couldn’t see his eyes, and totally ignored me, as if to say, “Hey, if you’re going to ignore me, I’m going to ignore you, and you can pound sand.
He stood there as still as Mt. Rushmore for 30 seconds while I stood in awe, before muttering to myself, “He can’t be serious!” Am I ignored by a bird, my own son?
Huck flew off without his Beer Nut and looked at me from the branch of a sugar pine, as if to say, “You have two legs, I have two wings, and we are equal in the sight of God.” .”
Well, that was the craziest thing I’ve ever hit. Yes, our Steller Jays are far more numerous, my friend, than we will ever know.
— For over 30 years, in over 4,000 performances, columnist and Chautauquan McAvoy Layne has dedicated himself to preserving the spirit and wisdom of “The Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope”, Mark Twain. As Layne says, “It’s like being a Monday-Friday preacher, whose sermon, though not reverently pious, is ardently American.” Go here for the audio version of this story.