Skip to content

Have you ever hand-reared a wild bird?

Monday 21 December 2009

2009_11_28 Jack on door handle (3)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.

2009_11_28 Jack on door handleOn 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.

2009_11_Jack at window, Tigger inside (2)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)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday 21 December 2009 11.48 pm

    what a delightful and refreshing story. this reminds me of my mammaw and pappaw having a myna bird who could talk. it would announce to everyone in the house that pappaw was drunk or that my mother was at the door. it hated my mother, lol. your pictures surprise me- jack didn’t seem to mind you taking his picture at all. he must be tame. when he learns how to open the door i’d say you’ll be in for some antics. hope all is well. have a great night.

    • Tuesday 22 December 2009 1.32 pm

      I’ve only seen mynas in zoos but the notes would always say they can be taught to speak like parrots. Great fun. I have told Tigger to try with a short phrase to see if Jack will pick it up. Hope he chooses something polite…

      Starlings are mimics too, used to fool me with the ice cream van’s jingle many times (plenty of starlings in Sussex where i grew up) and get gardeners running in to pick up the phone when it wasn’t really ringing. And i see the myna is (no surprise) in the starling family too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: