Jacks snapped, snapping twigs…

Now don’t go expecting a blog from me every day, but an opportunity arose this morning and I seized upon it, and a pure coincidence that I’d managed to find time for my first blog in ages only yesterday.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few snaps I took this morning from my office window. I have a small window, (thats a figuratively speaking kind of window you understand) at the start of each day, when the sun is in the right direction to photograph from the back of the house, through a ‘real window’…

I was observing our local Jackdaws collecting nesting material in the form of twigs from a neighbours tree and like the Carrion Crow I had watched the previous week, they were literally snapping off the chosen twigs with their beaks.

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The perfect twig

They seemed very fussy about the size of the twig, preferring something around 6″ to 8″ in length, with several being rejected after being broken off as they were clearly not quite right. Some much shorter twigs were also taken occasionally, perhaps used as fillers.

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Jackdaws will use a variety of nesting sites, from hollow trees, crevices in cliffs, old Rooks nests and probably most famously and annoyingly chimneys. With fewer home owners opting for an open fire these days and modern houses generally being without a chimney, its less of a problem, but you’ll know if you have a pair in yours.

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Adult Jackdaw, with that familiar pale eye.

Jackdaws can be told apart from the other members of the crow family in the UK, by that very pale blue/white iris, which shows a full adult bird. Interestingly, of the pair I was watching this morning, only one had the pale iris, the other had brown eyes, which generally indicates a first year bird. Yet studies around Jackdaws, indicate they only reach breeding maturity at two years!?

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Brown eyes, a first year Jackdaw?

Sexes are alike, so we can’t point fingers as to whether we have a toy boy here, or if it was the male who went for a ‘younger model’? Perhaps we have a case, as with other bird species, of a bird from the previous years brood helping out with nest building and the raising of the next generation, but from my observation, there just seemed to be the two birds working on the one nest. Can anyone shed any light on this?

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What was obvious, was the clear inexperience in the stick collecting department, of the ‘brown eyed’ bird often settling for a shorter twig and definitely slower at choosing the one that would easily break off with the right tug, in the right direction.

Great fun to witness though and nice to have time to dust off the old camera, even if I didn’t leave the house… I hope you enjoy my observations.

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2 thoughts on “Jacks snapped, snapping twigs…

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