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Prince Edward Island: XL Blue Jays Eat From Your Hand

We wanted to see the seals on Prince Edward Island, but got an extra treat at our cabin: huge, friendly blue jays. Blue jays are the official bird of this Canadian province, but that usually means nothing. But they’re everywhere here.

Glenn Saunders, our host at Forest and Stream Cottages in Murray Harbor, PE, told us that last year he had the jays eating out of his hand. This year, he said at first, he hadn’t put the time into it.

Our cottage is next to the B&B, which has big windows and lots of bird feeders. I put some peanuts out for the red squirrels and chipmunks and the blue jays quickly buzzed in and picked them up.

I figured they were so bold, they probably would let me sit at the picnic table while they took nuts off it. They complained a lot about the situation from the trees, but eventually they did it. They’d swoop in, sometimes with a thud. Eventually they got used to the situation and slowed down, shoving two peanuts in their mouths (one half down their throats).

The jays were so close, so loud, I could see them interact. One was a juvenile, which I never would have known by its husky size. But it would cry and flap its wings, begging its parents for food, then chase after them when they got a nut.

Glenn told us he got the jays to eat from his hand. Then he took the time to show me how he did it. First he’d put the peanut on a porch railing, then whistle them in. Then he’d hold out his hand and the jays would come to the porch roof, then furtively fly down and take a nut.

He guided me and much to my surprise and delight they ate from my hand, too. Four times. They did a lot of fretting between the tree and the roof, but eventually swooped in and took the nuts. I’ve always liked blue jays and their bossy personalities, but this made melove them even more.

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