The Second Ladybird Book of British Birds #5 – The Jackdaw

It was 1955 when my copy of The Ladybird Book of British Birds was published in its third edition. That’s long before I was born, you understand:

The Second Ladybird Book of British Birds - The Jackdaw

How much does the text still apply?

Their food is mostly insects, but they also take the eggs of other birds and will kill young birds, mice and frogs.

I think using the word ‘kill’ might be a little hypocritical, given how much wildlife humans kill for sport and food and land we use for farmed animals. With Jackdaws, it’s their nature. With us, it’s a choice and a moral failing.

I saw so many Jackdaws in Matera in Italy and it took me ages to work out what they were eating:

Jackdawning realisation

They also like nesting in Church towers

Jackdaw - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) david Bailey (not the)

Still true.

Not only are Jackdaws fond of hiding food, they collect bright objects, like pebbles or coins, and hide them too.

Today, it’s not just pebbles and coins it’s rubbish, plastic, metal and, in this case, Skittles:

Jackdaw - Beachy Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Here’s the full story:

Jackdaws and Skittles

It’s forty years since I wrote about seeing my first Jackdaw in my nature notebooks:

Jackdaw - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Today I’m just as thrilled to see them.

Jackdaws – forty years ago in my nature notebooks

They are easy to tame and can be taught to talk.

If Jackdaws really could talk, what would they say to us?

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