Liljefors’ paintings often give the impression of a dramatic event lit by lightning. The jays have sensed danger. One has already taken flight while the other opens its short, round beak to make its harsh warning call. Liljefors studied and drew live birds but he also used photographs and stuffed birds – which he mounted outdoors in a natural setting. The composition with the branch in the near foreground and the hazy forest edge in the background enhance the feeling that this is a frozen moment.