A Common Jackdaw
The Jackdaw is a Common Bird in the British Isles
The jackdaw is 30 centimetres long and is one of the smallest members of the crow family in Great Britain. It can be easily distinguished by the grey on its face and on the back of its neck. The rest of its plumage is black, and it has clear, pearly-grey eyes. It is a very smart and perky looking bird, and it struts along when walking on the ground.
'Daws', as the birds are often called, move about in groups and are often seen in company with rooks, either feeding on the ground or flying in focks with them. Wooded farmland and cliffs, both on the coast and inland, are the places where jackdaws are found. They are also very fond of towers and old buildings, such as cathedrals and castles, and wheel up in clouds from them, uttering their loud, harsh cry, which sounds rather like 'jack'. Their food includes insects and other creatures found on the ground and berries.
The jackdaw is a common bird in the British Isles and is found throughout Europe and even in Siberia. It nests in holes in trees, buildings or rocks, and sometimes in rabbit holes. The nest is made by both the male and female, and four to six greenish-blue eggs spotted with brownish-black are laid. Unfortunately jackdaws also nest in chimneys. They poke an enormous number of sticks down them while building and sometimes the birds or their young fall into the room below.
Jackdaws are easy to tame and make very amusing pets. Sometimes they even learn to say a few words. They can be allowed to roam about the house and garden if one wing is clipped to prevent them from flying away, but they often become so fond of their owners that they will stay with them even if they have the use of both wings. They enjoy taking a bath, but tame jackdaws are sometimes found drowned in water tubs that were too deep for them.
Tame jackdaws can be rather troublesome in houses, for they often steal small bright objects and hide them. This habit inspired the poem The Jackdaw of Rheims in Richard Barham's The Ingoldsby Legends. The poem tells how the Cardinal's ring was stolen and how he put a curse on the thief, which proved to be a jackdaw.
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