There’s a Jackdaw on the cliffs at Beachy Head in East Sussex. It has its beak open and is panting in this exceptionally hot weather. It certainly doesn’t help that it’s wearing black. It’s foraging in the grass on the South Downs Way and I see it fly up and around and down onto the cliffs with something in its beak. Then it’s back and doing it all again. It’s picking up sweets dropped on the path and taking them to its chicks. They look like Skittles. This one is ‘orange’ flavour.
The ingredients of Skittles are sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated palm-kernel oil with colourings like Yellow 6 for the orange ones. That doesn’t sound perfect for a growing bird family. Yellow 6 is Sunset Yellow FCF which comes from petroleum. The Food Standards Agency in the UK says ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’.
I wonder if their brood is hyperactive?