Camp Robber Hits the Road

(Fairbanks, Alaska USA)

On the way to work this morning there was a bird in the left hand turn lane that had been hit by a car.

Family members were diving down to it, touching its beak and flying off again. I pulled off the road, a busy highway, scooped it up and put it in my car and drove off to the vet I knew treated wild animals. I could tell it was a jay but I couldn't identify it. I was a bit stressed. It squawked a few times.

Arrived at the vet and a couple of techs came out to help me. The techs told me that we should see if it could fly. They let it go. It flew wobbly and into a window. We all gasped and decided to take it in to see the vet who pronounced it a Gray Jay and said it hadn't broken anything.

They told me to go back to the area I found it and release it. I found that the property was fenced off in the small plane area of the airport. I drove to the transient plane parking and drove as close to the area I thought the family resided as possible.

When they flew to the distressed baby, they flew from this side of the road. I opened the box and carefully tried to lift him out of the box, he flew a bit and landed on my finger. He paused and then flew into one of the boreal spruce trees. He squawked for his family or to cuss me out.

I was embarrassed that I couldn't identify him, he was an all over dark bluish gray with a black mask; baby coloration. I think he had white tips on his tail. It is sad to think 80% of the babies die their first year.

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