Focus on jackdaws

Today I started the day catching up with yesterday’s springwatch episode. It started with a jackdaw attacking a house Martin nest to take away the chicks. This was considered to be unusual behaviour for jackdaws. We saw lots of jackdaws up close at Bempton and they are a daily garden feeder visitor. So they seem like a good choice for today’s focus.


The jackdaws (Corvus monedula) on my feeder can dominate. Between the pigeons and seagulls a lot of the smaller birds don’t get a look in on the back garden feeder. Luckily I’m fond of them. Easy to muddle at a distance with the carrion crow and rook. But once you get a clear look at the head you can see the striking grey hood. They are the smallest member of the crow family. They have distinctive white irises, however the young have different plumage and different coloured eyes.


Jackdaws have been shown to be highly intelligent, capable of being trained to do simple tasks. Jackdaws are sociable creatures. They roost and live in colonies. They’ve also been known to find food then show other jackdaws where to eat. As mates they are loyal to their partners, often sticking with partners even after unsuccessful years.


They can be found across the UK and have adapted well to urban environments. They mainly eat insects and plant material making the behaviour on springwatch today unusual. Unlike a lot of corvids jackdaws have a slightly more positive public perception in folk believes. While many corvids are seen as heralds of death; jackdaws are seen as signs of fortune on a wedding day in the Fens. In Wales jackdaws on the church steeple was a sign the devil shunned that location.


While I do like these birds I would like to see the return of he finches. The internet advises squirrel proof feeders. The little birds can get through, but not the pigeons and jackdaws that have dominated. Another suggestion was using small hanging baskets as feeders. I may have to put a variety of different sized feeders to bring back the variety.

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