Short-lived Beauty: Blue Jays and More

Blue jays are beautiful birds—at first glance. Their gorgeous colors and distinctive markings catch my eye every time.

But if I watch them long enough, I see their true colors—and they’re not very pretty. I’ve found that blue jays are bullies.

Yes, these aerial playground ruffians do their best to intimidate other birds who dare to share their neighborhood. I’ve witnessed some of their bully behavior first-hand but have also read what Wikipedia has to say about them.

Blue jays swoop in and try to chase away less aggressive birds, sometimes invading their nests and stealing their eggs, chicks, or even the nests. At times, they chase other birds from feeders and sometimes even attack or kill smaller birds. They use their harsh sounding voices to intimidate as well. Even though beautiful, blue jays are in reality bully birds.

What about us? What about our beauty?As we think of all the pains we take to make ourselves beautiful at first glance, what do people see—or hear—if they watch us for any length of time? What true colors do they find? Do they see a beauty that’s short-lived? A beauty that quickly gives way to ugly behavior?

Let’s do our best to show the world a beauty that’s real and enduring. Let’s allow our beauty to spring forth from our love for God. Let’s let our true colors reflect him.

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

*What beauty are you attracted to in others?

*Photo by yours truly :)

*By the way, blue jays aren’t all bad. I read that they help protect other birds when they chase away predatory birds like hawks or owls. They will also scream if they see predators in their territories, and they’ve been known to give an alarm call when dangers are near. Smaller birds many times recognize the call and hide in response. Maybe we can take encouragement from this. When we mess up and our beauty disappears, positive things may still be found in us.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!


  1. Cheryl, we have stellar jays up at our cabin and scrub jays down at our house. They are both very loud and obnoxious.

    But, more than once, those scrub jays have warned us of rattlesnakes in the yard, so we appreciate their strident voices.

    And, the color of the stellar jay is so beautiful that I forgive him for being a jerk.

  2. Oh we don’t care for blue jays. You are right for the most part they are just bullies but they are really pretty!

  3. Jana & Alicia, I know what you mean about how pretty these jays are. I’m like you, Jana, I secretly forgive the blue jay because he’s such a looker! :)

  4. Cheryl,

    I was convicted that I can be like a blue jay too. Thanks for that humbling thought.

    I’m glad you stopped by my post, “What All Women Desperately Need.” I agree. Investments, and the reaped benefits of long-term friendships that have stood the test of time. Beautiful. Shorter time friendships are wonderful too.

    Did you get to grab some coffee and time out with that former church friend yet?

    Jennifer Dougan

  5. Jennifer, you’re not alone — I can be like a blue jay at times aw well. And no, I haven’t been able to get together with my friend yet. Have had jam-packed days. Hopefully soon.

  6. Cheryl, I was seriously just thinking about you the other day, and then your sweet face popped up on my blog : )
    This post is fitting for me – our family (my hubby) takes the brunt of much unloveliness since he is pastor of our church. There have been some difficult changes going on and I have a hard time letting others’ comments and rude attitudes roll off my back. Working on loving better and ‘even though’ because I know that I’m far from perfect!

    Only by His grace

  7. Kerry, that’s neat that you were thinking of me right before I visited your blog :) That’s too bad that your family has to deal with unloveliness because your husband is a pastor. God bless your efforts to love better. Only by His grace indeed!

  8. I’ve seen a few bullies in my lifetime, none worse than a few in the church.

    I pray that the “blue jay” in me is tempered by the grace of Jesus. In this way, I can be useful to the kingdom.

    A good consideration, friend.

  9. Elaine, love your thought about the tempering power of the grace of Jesus. I need that, too!

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