Bird Consciousness

western blue jay.png


“Mom, look out the window!”

I shuffled to the living room. Outside, perched on a cherry tree branch sat a blue jay.

“I named her Micah,” Ruby said.

In truth, it was a she. No cock’s comb sprouted from her little blue head. Micah fidgeted and chirped, then flew off.

“She waits for me on the power line at the end of the street. I see her every time I walk home from the bus stop,” Ruby said.

My daughter, a Snow White in training. Soon she’ll be summoning squirrels to braid her hair and put her clean clothes away.

“Here, little birdie! Pretty birdie,” Ruby called to the bird.

It was time for a little education.

“Ruby, blue jays aren’t very nice birds. They steal other birds’ nests and kick out their babies,” I said.

Ruby thought for a moment.

“I don’t care,” she said. “She’s blue and she’s pretty.”

Which illustrates how pretty people have gotten away with outrageous things through the ages. However, scrub jays show great intelligence, according to Wikipedia. They think about the future and store food in caches. They even steal other jays’ acorns and the like. They even, it appears, feel guilt.


“They even seem aware of their guilt: some scrub-jays steal acorns they’ve watched other jays hide. When these birds go to hide their own acorns, they check first that no other jays are watching.”  from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Scrub-Jay/lifehistory

Wow. Birds with a conscience. Do they seek absolution or forgiveness? Is there a bird confessional somewhere?

I doubt it. Jays, like every other creature, operate out of survival. Doesn’t matter what it takes, be it stealing, deception or brute force. Don’t hold your breath on them offering restitution. But I see a little glimpse of the Maker in the fact that they comprehend the treachery of their actions. There’s hope for the rest of us.

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? – Matthew 6:26






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