Mach 1 has been mooching at the neighbors and regularly getting raisins from them. Yesterday, I was chatting with my neighbor over the fence and Mach 1 showed up. Mach 1 landed on my neighbor’s arm while she hand fed it raisins. I make it eat from the bowl, so it prefers her. Unbelievable! They named the bird Sweetie and that’s fine with me. Mach 1 is now Sweetie.
Topaz (the blue jay) has been getting very active, so I allowed it to be free on the lanai. After dinner, Dart and I went out to bring mealworms to Sweetie and Topaz escaped. It went up to the tops of the pine trees and Sweetie promptly joined it. That is the first time I saw Sweetie fly that high. I watched Topaz with binoculars until almost dark. Topaz was having a wonderful time up in the pine trees and Sweetie kept joining it now and then. At almost dark, Sweetie landed on our roof and started calling to Topaz. Topaz landed on the nearest neighbor’s roof for a few seconds, then shot off like a missile through the trees. There was no interest in spending the night on the lanai. Even Sweetie didn’t want to.
I laid in bed that night worried about Topaz and wondering how I was going to tell the Ark I allowed the bird to escape. Can you get fired from a volunteer position? The next morning I went out with mealworms and Sweetie came up to the bowl and ate. Immediately afterward, Topaz showed up and ate mealworms but I couldn’t grab the bird.
At this point, I figured there wasn’t much I could do and started to clean all the bird poop out of the lanai. I took the cage outside with the intention of hosing it down after I finished on the lanai. Sweetie showed up in the cage, soon to be followed by Topaz. I caught them. I let Sweetie go and put the cage back on the lanai. Topaz went to the food dish and ate well and then promptly fell asleep.
I reached out to the Ark because I was concerned that Topaz was not going to be satisfied in the cage. It had a taste of freedom and loved it. And, in spite of the feathers not being completely grown in, the bird flew better than the first blue jay I released. They agreed that I could release it, so I did.
Then, I didn’t seen the bird for hours. I’m a worry wart and eventually took the dog for a walk hoping to find Topaz somewhere along the way. When we got back home, Sweetie and Topaz were in the backyard. I gave them a bowl of mealworms and the neighbor spoke to me from across the fence. She told me the birds had landed on top of their screen and made a bunch of noise so they fed them apricots.
So, Sweetie has now taught Topaz how to mooch. Thankfully, the neighbors are enthralled. Since we will be leaving next week, I’m happy to know the birds will be well taken care of. I would never have guessed about the bonding across species and the recruitment into a mooching gang.