[Tweeters] Trickster Steller's Jay imitating Pileated Woodpecker?

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 29 18:54:10 PST 2015

Dear Tweeters,
Today at Barnaby Slough in Skagit County, I was tricked by a Steller's Jay that seemed to be imitating a Pileated Woodpecker.
This jay was  near the parking spot when I arrived. A while later, as I was walking up to the car to leave, I heard a Pileated Woodpecker calling. The woodpecker was also hammering at a tree trunk, but I could never get a look at it. Then I heard what I assumed was another Pileated Woodpecker, much closer to me, hammering likewise on a tall tree trunk quite close to the parked car, and perhaps eighty meters from where the Pileated was. After I tried tapping on trunks with sticks, I finally got a look at the tapping bird near my car. I kept thinking, "Hmm, this Pileated Woodpecker looks odd." The light was not good, what with the sun shining so brightly to the west, but I could at least see the shape of the bird, as well as the outline of a crest. Then I decided to clap my hands, and all of a sudden, the bird flew--Steller's Jay! It had been tapping, apparently in imitation of the woodpecker!
Other birds of note upriver today included two Greater White-fronted Geese at Barnaby Slough, a Northern Pygmy Owl at Martin Road, a Wilson's Snipe at Marblemount Fish Hatchery, and a Spotted Sandpiper at SR 20 Milepost 100.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch

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