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The first Scrub Jay I hand fed was Snickers. This occurred in the parking lot where I work. Snickers disappeared in March of 2001. By incredible luck, Skippy showed up just before Snickers left. The new Scrub Jay (Skippy) has proven to be very easy to hand feed. In only took about 10 days from the time I first saw Skippy - to the first landing on my hand.
Getting Skippy to land on my hand was easy. I first placed a peanut on the mirror of my car. Skippy swooped down and buzzed by the mirror, but didn't land. After a few tries, she finally took the peanut. After that, I placed my hand closer and closer to the mirror until I was touching the mirror. Then I placed my hand on the mirror with the peanut in my hand. Then I moved my hand off the mirror. Skippy picked up on each step with ease.
Skippy is especially comfortable with my digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 990. The movie clips and still photos were taken with this camera. Skippy is not the least bothered by fill flash. For this reason, I have been able to get many close-ups of Skippy. Something rather funny - one day I took my large VHS camcorder to work so I could film Skippy (with something a little better then the digital camera). I though it would take time for Skippy to get used to this rather large object. When I first took the camcorder out of my car, I placed it on the trunk while I got something else out of my car. When I turned around, there was Skippy, happily sitting on the handle of the camcorder waiting for a treat. I guess that answered that question.
I suspect it is rare for someone to hand tame a Scrub Jay where they work. Since most of the photos revolve around my car, the still photos are rather unique, not just another bird-in-the-tree photo. Because I take many breaks and lunches with Skippy, she has become very comfortable with my presence. This is something I would never have the time to do at home with any regularity.
Update - March 2003. Skippy will no longer come to me. She is still around, but something, or someone has scared her, and she appears afraid of humans. I suspect she is a victim of her own friendliness. It's likely someone tried to grab her, but she got away.
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