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Thankful for noisy birds - I was always told blue jays and crows were good for nothing, and I just thought they were noisy birds. Now, though, I realize that is wrong.

Many a day, the yelling of blue jays and crows has saved the lives of our chickens, which we let run loose instead of penning up.

It took us a few years to realize this. Now, when those birds yell, we go look, and - sure enough - there is something around trying to get at our chickens.

One summer, we were outside working, and all day long the blue jays yelled. We looked everywhere and couldn't see anything wrong.

At 4 o'clock, the birds were still yelling and sitting on the chicken yard fence. By then, I was tired of hearing them and went out to see what was going on.

Two or three blue jays were sitting and flying around, looking up in the air. I looked up, too, but didn't see anything. So, I walked around and looked in a tree, and there was the biggest snake I had ever seen, crawling up to a bird's nest.

We had been watching this nest all spring, because it had baby birds in it. I guess the snake knew this, too.

The blue jays were divebombing the snake and yelling, so my husband got a gun and shot the snake.

He let it lie on the ground for the blue jays to see. All the rest of the evening and early the next day, the blue jays kept watch over the snake, until my husband took it away. Then the blue jays left on their way.

Now, when the blue jays yell or the crows call, my chickens run for cover, because they know the birds are warning them. Sometimes, the threat is a chicken hawk; other times, it's a cat. So, we welcome them and all the birds.

Virginia Basile
Foristell, Mo

Editor's note: Last month's issue included an incorrect name with the poem Serenity (page 15). The poem was written by Joyce Roner. We apologize for the error.

You've Got Mail

What if you opened your mailbox to find this?

This is my great-grandson Christian Moyer, 3. He and his brother, Logan, are twins, but they're not identical - Logan is bigger and wouldn't fit in the mailbox. Their sister, Mallory, is a year older, but she's petite, so you'd think they were triplets. They're the children of Philip and Laura Moyer, of Bedford, Iowa.

Dorothy Higgins
Nebraska City, Neb.


Open Session

We welcome letters from readers. If you have an opinion or comment on an article you saw in CAPPER'S that you'd like to share, send it to Open Session, CAPPER'S, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.