Have you ever hand-reared a wild bird?
But for Tigger, we’d never have met Jack.
Do bear with the image quality. Neither birds nor boys (nor double glazing) are known as good sitters for the camera. Tigger definitely isn’t, though Friend-Next-Door is a little more mature.
Jack is a cheeky chappie, or chapette. (We don’t know whether ‘Jack’ is short for Jacqueline.) In fact, only Tigger, Friend-Next-Door and Friend-Across-the-Road have been introduced and i’m not sure whether the jackdaw actually told them her/his name.
Either Jack is an exceptionally sociable creature with an prodigious IQ and species confusion disorder, or she/he has been tamed by either a neighbour or (Friend-Nearby-but-Online’s pet theory) the local gamekeeper. Either way, Jack’s happy about it.
- He – i’ll risk offending the bird by continuing with ‘he’ or it just gets too complicated – prefers the company of children, so they have seen far more of him than Tall, Taifeng or i have.
- He answers to his name. ‘Jack-Jack-Jack-Jack-Jack!’ call Tigger, Friend-Next-Door and Friend-Across-the-Road, and down he flies.
- He plays, sitting on Tigger’s foot or a stick for a ride up and down. He not only plays, but instigates play.
- He dive-bombs to keep us on our toes, swooping from a high branch or the top of a road-sign or gatepost down within inches of someone’s head, and the game is to see whether you can manage not to duck.
- He really, really has a good try at getting into the house.
On the occasion Jack and i were introduced, Catdog was rather offended by Jack’s antics (her one failing is overreacting to the behaviour of small animals…), and so i didn’t get pix of any of this list except the last; i was too busy holding the lead. When we got home, the boys had to discourage the jackdaw from coming in too. He then spent so long trying to join us indoors that we had to discourage Catdog from trying to climb out of the window, because we couldn’t convince her that she wasn’t able to. (She hasn’t mastered window locks. (This is a Good Thing.))
Jack is a pretty bright little thing. He shows every sign of understanding that the door handle is what makes the door open. He showed every sign of intense irritation that pecking it and jumping didn’t make it work. I was impressed with his determination to find the secret move that would work the door. Rattling it up and down (not my idea, Tigger’s) beneath his feet only drove him to more frantic efforts.
It really feels like a privilege to have this kind of ‘communicative’ close contact with a wild thing. Jackdaws and other members of the crow family are both sociable and intelligent, and i’d heard of them being this friendly, but never expected to experience it. :0)