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American Robin vs Blue Jay fight. Robin has the Jay on the run

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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 02:39   #1
crazyfingers
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American Robin vs Blue Jay fight. Robin has the Jay on the run

A couple of days ago I observed a very angry American robin chasing and trying to attack a blue jay. Robins have a reputation for being such mild mannered birds while Jays have the reputation as a bit of trouble makers.

I have no idea what started it but the robin was chasing that jay trying to attack it. The jay was trying to get away but the robin would not give up. They would swoop, dive, dart in and around trees, fly straight up and then straight down. I never knew either bird capable of such flying gymnastics. Obviously they can when they need or want to. I saw one jay tail feather float off.

It lasted for perhaps 30 second of what I saw which is a long time for those kinds of antics.

If it was spring I'd have suspected the jay had tried to rob the robin's nest of eggs but being fall here in Massachusetts, I can only wonder what the jay did to get the robin so angry. There is still plenty of food around in terms of berries on the trees.
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 06:58   #2
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The Robin could very well be a transient visitor, just passing through. Seasonal hormonal changes having taken place. But, because of transient nature of the beast, that the Robin is, it still has to find and compete for forage. In a location different perhaps from where it spent its breeding season. That competition is the aggression shown towards the jay. Outwardly, looks very similar to what we see during the breeding season.

It is alleged that the relationship of hypothalamic to pituitary to gonadal response shown to varying periods of light may trigger what you describe. In essence, Robin wants food, sees that food, then sees the jay inhibiting access to that food. At that point, the Robin experiences hormones triggering the aggressive response. From what I understand, those hormonal responses, although different chemicals are apparently being produced, and stimulated by different periods of light, ultimately manifest in much, if not the same exact manner as during breeding season.
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 13:56   #3
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Interesting. Could be a robin on the way though. There are robins hanging around in that area all year long, in the winter eating the little red berries on all the trees that line the area. But whether they are always changing or some stay there I would never know.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2013, 11:04   #4
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Tuesday morning (5th), had 6 or more robins in the backyard, eating poke berries mostly. One out of the crowd was displaying the behavior you described. Instead of a jay being "victimized" (if that's possible), the aggressiveness was directed at the other robins. Went on for about a minute, but then they all seemed to leave together after getting some water.

Poke has clustered berries, that thrush in particular, adore. What you're seeing sounds like it could be winter berry (a holly), birds love, holds berries for awhile. Here, we're overrun with invasive bush honeysuckle. Also, has red berries, clustered in pairs. held at times through winter. It takes a hard freeze for berries to apparently become fully edible. Once froze, robins will eat them, but it takes weather extremes for it happen.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2013, 12:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird_Bill View Post
Tuesday morning (5th), had 6 or more robins in the backyard, eating poke berries mostly. One out of the crowd was displaying the behavior you described. Instead of a jay being "victimized" (if that's possible), the aggressiveness was directed at the other robins. Went on for about a minute, but then they all seemed to leave together after getting some water.

Poke has clustered berries, that thrush in particular, adore. What you're seeing sounds like it could be winter berry (a holly), birds love, holds berries for awhile. Here, we're overrun with invasive bush honeysuckle. Also, has red berries, clustered in pairs. held at times through winter. It takes a hard freeze for berries to apparently become fully edible. Once froze, robins will eat them, but it takes weather extremes for it happen.
Somewhere I have a photo of the berries that they were particularly going for this time of year. They are small red ones on trees. I'm tempted to say a variety of cranberry but I should try to find the photo. It's been several years.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2013, 15:52   #6
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Here is the photo of the food that's in abundance where I saw the fight. This was taken early December back in 2009. I'm not sure how abundant they are now in November. The place is at the office. I only go in once every other week or so. I was told that they are a variety of cranberry. Small trees.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2013, 19:23   #7
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Fruit looks something like a cranberry. Some cranberry trees are old world also, and introduced as an ornamental, eg. European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus), other non native varieties, should flower white in the spring. Buds if they could be seen, at internodes could diagnose. Perhaps too early (late) in season.

edit:
Ton of stuff in the page below. From Robins, to Monarch butterflies, to Whooping cranes.
Embedded links within it, are virtually endless
Learner.org- journey north-migration maps & data

Last edited by Bird_Bill : Wednesday 6th November 2013 at 19:45.
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Old Friday 8th November 2013, 17:40   #8
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That's no cranberry; that's a cherry (<i>Prunus</i> sp.). (Fruit on very long stems, joined at base of stem into clusters of two.) It's probably an ornamental from Asia, bred for looks not tasty fruit, but should be perfectly edible.
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Old Friday 8th November 2013, 18:24   #9
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Bark doesn't look right for European cranberrybush.
This is the fruit of...European cranberrybush

Learner link is handy, weather permitting,
get to see the Whooping Crane flyover Saturday, and maybe Sunday.
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Old Friday 17th June 2016, 18:45   #10
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I know this is a very old post, but recently I notice the same thing, that robins are chasing blue jays in my backyard. This is the third year I am in this house and it never happened before. Blue jays become very cautious when they approach my window sill, where the food is, and often the robins would suddenly come from nowhere and chased the blue jays away. It's not the food, since the robins don't eat the grains and seeds. And the robins "live" here. They are hanging around the whole day.
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Old Friday 17th June 2016, 19:09   #11
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Jays are considered predators and if the Robins have a nest nearby they'll protect it to the hilt.
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Old Friday 17th June 2016, 19:27   #12
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Thanks! Yes, when I looked this up, I found some videos showing jays stealing robins' eggs. I haven't seen baby robins around yet, but I'll be looking!
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