Unless you have the opportunity to view birds up close, you might miss that their eyes vary in color as much (or more) than those of humans. From a distance, many birds appear to have black eyes; but when viewed closer you can see, in the case of this Blue Jay, that its eyes are brown. In other species the colors range from brown to red to orange to blue to green.
I had a plan today. It went awry as plans so often do. My plan was to wait patiently until one of the Downy Woodpeckers brought a youngster in close enough to photograph. I did have such a moment but the sun was beaming down intensely which does not make for pleasing photos of black and white birds (no matter how cute they may be.) My back up plan was to photograph one of the three baby robins that have been hanging around. Nope - they were way too flighty and stayed way too far for decent shots.) The bluebirds were also in crap light - part sun/part shade which equals cursing for photographer.
But the blue jays...oh, yes, the blue jays. I tossed a few peanuts out and my three friends appeared. I wonder if they are the same three who were here last summer? They are extremely tame and will approach within a few feet of me to grab peanuts. And as you can see from this shot, they aren't alarmed - their crests are down which is an indication that they are feeling comfortable. This was taken from a distance of less than 5 feet and cropped to show just the head/neck. One of the other jays is in Extra. Let's see if you can tell them apart (hint - look at the black "chin strap").
I am also using this image to record yardbird #28 for this year.
This evening we are heading over to our neighbor's farm to join them for socially distant mojitos on their deck overlooking the farm fields. It will be great fun, as it always is when we spend time with them. Then, tomorrow morning I am meeting up with one of my naturalist friends for a walk along a favorite trail. As we did last week when we met, we'll stay apart and wear masks.
As things in my area (New York and New Jersey) continue to get better, I watch other parts of the country and world heading in a frightening direction. I know that it is inconvenient to wear a mask, and that staying "socially distant" is hard...but the alternative is so, so much more "inconvenient". I don't have to look back very far to remember when our hospitals were overflowing, when the funeral homes couldn't keep up with the deaths, when life seemed unimaginably fragile and uncertain.
So, please, do what you must to keep yourselves and others safe. Be kind, be loving, be patient.