blue jays

Male cardinals bathe side-by-side in the stream, then resume chasing. A jay perches in a dogwood bush shaking the water from his wings.

A skim of snow. A jay monitored by three fierce chickadees gives that red-tailed hawk scream—the one that signifies an eagle in the movies.

Blue jays jeering in the steady rain. In January. One more thing that doesn’t feel right on a day when the world is out of joint.

A bitter wind. Through three layers of head covering I can hear the trees squeaking and groaning and a pair of jays exchanging urgent cries.

Under a bright blue sky, the snowpack gleams like metal. The raspy cries of a jay. Trees rock in a sudden gust of wind, branches clattering.

Alarm calls of jays give way to crows; the crows to a raven. With each corvid, the cry comes from higher in the blue—and closer to the bone.

The stream’s dark thread. A jay pierces it with his bill three times. The scarlet oak I planted so long ago is flying all its red flags.