There are some garden birds which definitely don't sit at the glamorous end of the spectrum and never seem to hit the headlines. They are the boring brigade, the dowdy dullards.

In fact, I realised despite the topic of today's blog being a common garden bird, I haven't mentioned it in almost ten years of blogging. So is it really that unexceptional?

I've been prompted to talk about them because in the last few weeks, a pair of them have become an almost permanent feature in my garden. And here it is:

It is the Jackdaw.

And hold on a cotton-picking minute - when you see it like this, close up and in good light, it actually begins to look rather appealing. There's that little black cap, that twinkling eye, that distinguished silver haircut. There are interesting details to be seen, such as the feathering that covers the ears, and the 'noise shield' of tough bristly feathers at the base of its beak.

But it is the way it carries itself, too. There is a cheekiness to them, an alert, inquisitive, intelligent feel, with a slightly naughty edge.

This is a bird that looks at you with great curiosity.

Now the reason why they have taken to visiting my garden is not my feeders or indeed any of my garden habitats. It is purely because they have spotted that the unused chimney on my neighbour's house would make a great nest site. They've started diving down into it, and soon are likely to start dropping sticks into it to build a nest.

What I love more than anything about the Jackdaw is their fidelity. These are lovebirds, which pair for life, and spend all year together. So even though during the winter they may join up with lots of other Jackdaws and indeed with Starlings or Rooks, they keep their partner close. When you see a flock of Jackdaws flying over, merrily chak chakking away, look how actually you can still often spot the pairs among the wider grouping, flying close together. And right now, they just want to be together, sat next to each other, nuzzling and being loved-up.

Indeed, the pair bond is so important that, should tragedy strike during the breeding season and one of a pair is lost, the remaining bird is unable to raise its chicks alone.

So I'm now going to pay my Jackdaws more attention and more respect, because a bit more love in the world is no bad thing.

  • Jackdaws are very fine birds. Great call and cheeky look, as you say. Keen to see a chance too: they all appear & scour the playground of the local school straight after lunch hour as they know the little wild humans will have kicked up lots of food, and they hang around like vultures by the station kiosk, watching for croissant crumbs!