In 1991 when the whole road had chimneys and coal fires we had a rush in our 'hospital quarters'. Over the years our family have had many birds in our temporary care but this particular week went down in our history book. In the morning we had taken in a very young jackdaw which some one delivered on the doorstep and as the boys were searching for worms in the garden, the next minute a knock on the door sent me rushing round to a neighbours who had just had a very noisy black thing drop into their fire. As I lifted it out another one came down also covered in soot. As they were being washed, another knock on the door and number three turned up. Unfortunately they had tried to get this bigger one [one of the adults] out of the fire but it had been burnt and sadly died on my kitchen table. I was working at the Vets and already had 13 jackdaws which had each been shot in the wing and were now housed at the bottom of our garden in a walk-in enclosure. These three however would have to be fed with tweezers and I could not put them outside yet.
'Jack, Jill and Bucket' lived it up. After awhile they fed themselves but they were not impressed when I tried to introduce them to the ones outside, after all they had pride of place in the kitchen and so that is where they remained. I could let them out and they would immediately go on an exploring spree but always end up perched on the digestive biscuit tin. Not sure how many packets they went through in that year but they never left crumbs anywhere.
Each day I took them onto the mountain behind the house but after flying around for 30 minutes or so they were always watching and calling me from the air and when I turned to come home, back they came and sat on my arm or shoulder until they knew they were safely back in the kitchen.
It was in their second year they took off for good but that was not the end of the story. We had scaffolding up the next year and the back door was wide open, when three jackdaws flew in and landed on the table. Instinctively we opened the biscuit jar and all three had a feast. They flew out and we never saw them again but for several years whenever 3 jackdaws were seen together we always waved to Jack, Jill and Bucket...
Today many coal fires have been replaced by gas central heating and chimneys have been taken down. We still have a good flock [or murder] of jackdaws on the mountain and they come down into the garden to eat, but over the years we have noticed how much thinner they appear to be. The existing pots now have bird guards attached to prevent birds from building nests but I must confess it is not the same as when one sat in the garden following the parents building and then rearing their young.
- Val Trevallion