Cardinal

Hi Jackson,

Thanks so much for your drawing of a cardinal, one of my favorite Canadian birds. Their gorgeous orange colour is a real standout against the deep green forest, and I do enjoy the variety of their songs and whistles. One of their calls sounds to me like the cardinal is asking, “Would you eat, would you eat, would you eat peas, peas, peas?”

That’s how I memorize bird songs. I make up words that I think they’re singing. I learned this trick from other birders. When I’m out in the woods, and I hear the question about the peas, I know there’s a cardinal nearby.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Black-capped chickadee

Child's drawing of a black-capped chickadee

Dear Lulu,

I also like black-capped chickadees very much. They are regulars at my bird feeder and they are big fans of the peanuts I leave out for them, even more than the seeds. Picky eaters! You’ve captured their striking head markings very nicely as well as their delicate feathers. Well done!

Happy birding,

Jessica

Blue jay

Child's drawing of a treehouse and a blue jay

Dear Austin,

I really enjoyed your drawing of a Blue jay. They are part of the corvid family of birds (along with crows, ravens, magpies and nutcrackers), and I read that members of this family are thought to be some of the most intelligent and curious species of animals in the world. They are very popular at the park where I walk with my dog. I hear them all the time making a big racket when we pass by. To me, they make a sound like the squeaky wheel of a clothesline.

It looks like you’re having fun in your tree house watching the Blue jay. You have a little table set up with drinks and a skylight up above. How cozy! Is that a birdwatching book you’re holding? I bet it is.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Crow

Child's drawing of a crow

Dear Jack,

I like crows, too. I see them all the time at the park when I walk my dog Ivy. There’s a whole murder of them who yell at her from their treetops as she trots down the path pretending to ignore them.

Here are a few interesting facts about crows. They have an excellent memory and can remember faces of people. They can problem solve and use tools. For example, researchers dropped a small bucket of crow food at the bottom of a long tube and gave a hungry crow a wire. The crow actually bent the wire to hook the bucket handle and retrieve it! Crows weigh about the same as a soup can, and they can fly up to 65 kilometers per day. They have been known to adopt baby crows that have been orphaned. Lastly, they’ll eat anything. Literally, anything. They are not picky eaters.

If you hear caw-caw-caw, they are likely warning others of danger. Ivy doesn’t get away with anything when they’re on the lookout.

Happy reading and birdwatching,

Jessica

Bluejay spotted!

Child's drawing of a bluejay

Dear Emma,

I’m so glad you spotted a bluejay. I have a few fun facts for you. Even though bluejays look blue to us, their feathers are actually brown. What happens is a trick of light. All of the colours of light pass through the feathers except for blue, and that’s what we see. Neat!

Bluejays are very smart. They are a member of the crow and raven family, and they know how to use tools to get food. Also, they are very good at waiting for opportunities to eat, such as carefully watching as people enjoy their picnic lunch and when they turn away, bluejays will swoop in for the steal.

Lastly, bluejays can imitate the sound of hawks. When they spot one looking for its next meal, they call out like a hawk to warn other birds that a hawk is nearby. That way, the birds around take heed so that they don’t become lunch.

Thank you so much for your birdwatching report. You’ve done a lovely job.

Stay well,

Jessica

Trees with bluejays

Child's drawing of three trees with bluejays

Dear Fenix,

I chose your lovely letter today because of the trees you’ve drawn. I especially love the bluejays tucked into the highest limbs. I have some of those visiting my small backyard from time to time. Their calls sound like a squeaky clothesline to me.

I miss my daily walk in the local woods with my dog. I would write new stories in the morning, and then go for a walk with her to think about what I’d written, and I always came home with some new ideas and a happy dog. Now I’m spending way too much time inside, looking at my computer screen. I can’t wait to get back into the woods. Your drawing gives me hope.

Happy reading,

Jessica