We have a bird feeder on our balcony, which attracts a lot of lovely little birds – and a few pigeons, who are less lovely. I know they’re only trying to survive like the rest of us, but they make a mess, knock things over, squash plants, make nests and scare the little birds; so we do our best to discourage them. When I’m sitting at my desk working, I often notice them trying to sneakily fly past my window without being seen, so I leap up and shoo them away (it’s good exercise and micro-breaks from computer work).
Yesterday something caught my eye going past the window – a larger bird than the little maisals and finches who are regulars at the feeder, but smaller than the pigeons. It was smaller than a crow but larger than the amsel (blackbird) and much more colourful. At first I thought it was a specht (woodpecker) – every now and again one of those visits the balcony. But this bird didn’t come to the balcony, it went to the trees and hung out there for a while, eating things from the mossy branches. I had time to take some photos, and today Andy identified it: it’s an Eichelhäher, or Eurasian jay. Apparently they are not so unusual, but this is the first one I’ve seen in our inner-city neighbourhood.