I Dub Thee “Stumpy”

So, is this an immature jay whose tail hasn’t grown in? Or an adult that had a run-in with a predator, like maybe that orange cat that likes to stroll down the road from time to time?

I first noticed this bird today at 7:21 a.m. A bunch of us got pictures of it, with the best one being the one above, taken by kiddo. Later the same bird showed up in the ball feeder, and moments later was joined by a long-tailed companion. I’m thinking a mated pair, with one of them having had a close call that cost it its tail feathers in the last day or so. (Correction: He or she has been around, tailless, since at least April 23. See below.)

Here’s the best shot I could get of the two of them together in the ball, taken at 9:09 a.m.:

Update: And here’s a close-up of Stumpy’s stump:

Later update: morgan mentioned having seen Stumpy before, and a check of the archives shows him to be very much correct. I was just being clueless. There’s a really nice sequence of images taken as early as April 23: #931, #934, #935, #936, and #937.

Still later update: According to cnewmark himself:

“Stumpy” was actually a pigeon missing a foot, who I miss, not this guy, who I now call “Stumpy 2”.

4 Responses to “I Dub Thee “Stumpy””

  1. morgan says:

    Hey – I actually noticed “Stumpy” about a week ago, when I and others snapped a bunch of photos of him. I can’t remember the actual date, but I’ll see if I can track them down. As for what happened, it doesn’t appear to be a problem of not growing in the feathers — it really appears (and the above photo shows it well) that the bird has had a close call. Maybe a cat made a swap at it, but my guess is the tail got caught in something and the bird was able to free itself only by sacrificing most of its retrices. In the above photo, you can actually see the the shaft of at least one retrice, and it appears to be “cut” about an inch down.

  2. elanus says:

    Oh, cool. I was thinking about going back through the archive of Scrub Jay images and seeing if that bird had been photographed previously. I’ll definitely do that, too, and see what’s in there.

  3. morgan says:


    From what I can tell, this bird has been around since at least April 23rd (see above link) where he (she?) was photographed extensively. I took a few photos of a scrub jay on April 21st (during beta-testing) that may be of the bird, but it’s not entirely clear.

  4. elanus says:

    Yeah, I was just looking at those. Very nifty. Thanks!

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