According to Peter Hill’s ‘Birds of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough’*, jackdaws were scarce in the area until about 1960 and the first communal roost wasn’t recorded until 1979. There are loads of them now. Absolutely loads. Littleborough has so many jackdaws that some of them have made their way from the centre of the village** to explore further afield and have, quite recently, decided to hang around in the trees behind my house.
This is a good thing. I proper love jackdaws, me.
Slightly smaller than your average crow, and at least ninety percent more dapper, jackdaws are probably the best of all the birds. Maybe you have them in your garden too. But how would you know without a drawing and five top top spotting tips for top top spotters to help you? You wouldn’t. But you could. So here we go…
- As I have already mentioned, jackdaws are quite small for a crow. They are sort of Jay sized, but black and silvery-grey instead of pink.
- Nearly all the other crows that live, or turn up, in Britain tend to have black eyes but jackdaws have a very striking blue eye. Look for the eyes and you’ll know if you have a jackdaw or not.The DK/RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe says jackdaws have ‘whitish’ eyes but they’re not whitish, they’re blue.
- Because how can something be whitish? Something is either white or it’s not. Isn’t it? I’m not going mad here, am I? I would have accepted ‘blueish’, albeit somewhat begrudgingly, but whitish? Nope. Sorry. I’m not having it.
- Anyway, jackdaw eyes are blue. The only other crow with eyes that aren’t black is the jay but, as I think we have established by now, jays are pink.
- I mean, Christ mate. If you are still struggling with jays, am I just wasting my fucking time with this? I know we are all in quarantine and everything but I do have a pile of books to read. I’m doing this for you, not me, so at least pay attention. Jays are pink. Pink. Try to keep up, yeah?
*Yep, I’m not even joking. That is an actual book that I actually own. It’s a bloody good book too, so there.
**Is Littleborough a big village or a small town? I’ve never been able to decide.