A pair of Steller’s jays that built a nest on a couple’s motorhome at an RV campground outside Yosemite have gained so much notoriety in recent days the campground’s management has decided to let the RVers stay until the jays’ eggs hatch and the young birds learn how to fly.
That’s the way a man and woman from Miami who call themselves the RV Odd Couple are describing the situation, six days after the jays started laying eggs on their rig at Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails, off Highway 120 and east of the South Fork Tuolumne River bridge by Rainbow Pool.
Mercedes and John Condon said the jays started building a nest in early May.
The Condons, who have a YouTube channel with more than 17,000 subscribers, began making video and photos, and by last week the mama jay was laying her eggs.
“It was so exciting to see mommy and daddy cooperating to build this nest,” Mercedes Condon said Monday. “It came at the perfect time when we were totally exhausted.”
As of Monday afternoon, the jays had four eggs. The Condons asked last week to extend their reservation indefinitely, but their request was denied, the Condons say, because campground management said they were expecting to be fully booked.
Even though Steller’s jays are not endangered, the Condons feared that if they moved the jays’ nest and eggs they could be in violation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which protects many species of birds, including Steller’s jays.
“There was a $15,000 fine and up to six months jail time if we try to move the nest now that there’s eggs in it or drive away with the nest on our rig,” John Condon said.
“Not that we would drive away with a birds’ nest with eggs on our RV, that’s a horrible, cruel thing to do,” Mercedes Condon said.
The Condons got good news Mother’s Day morning. An employee with Thousand Trails came to their RV and, according to the Condons, she said they could stay as long as they have to for the birds.
Mercedes Condon said she thought that was the best Mother's Day present.
Miguel Ortiz, the general manager at Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails, said Monday the Condons were never denied their request to extend their stay. He confirmed the Condons will be allowed to stay as long as the jays are nested on their RV and until the eggs hatch and the young birds learn to fly.
“We are in nature and we are in the birds’ way,” Ortiz said. “We have birds, we have bears. We affect their way of life. We want to do the right thing here.”
The Condons said Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails staff plan to install a “nest cam” to do a live video fee to the campground clubhouse and for the campground website. Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails staff also plan to create activities for the kids in the park about animal conservation and nest building.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.