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Nature watch

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

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A cheering tale from my farmer friend in South Devon, showing just how loving and affectionate wild creatures are. On the farm, a pair of jackdaws have one youngster with a lame leg, the bird remaining with them as they forage for food about the farmstead. Towards the end of August the birds were on the farm roof and one of the adults was gently nuzzling and preening the lame bird as the other looked on.

Jackdaws are of the crow family, of course, and are highly intelligent birds. I have found them nesting in tree holes, chimneys, sea caves, the old nests of other birds, rabbit burrows and church towers. Where I live they often gather in dozens along the bottom of the woods, perching and flying as they call the loud "tchack" or "tchackertchack" as they discuss the day and useful feeding areas. There is no doubt their communication has a purpose, as is the case with crows, rooks, ravens and the like.

The jackdaw is Corvus monedula, Corvus, Latin for raven, and monedula, Latin, a jackdaw.

Talking of sensible birds, one of the great white egrets nesting on the Somerset Levels was ringed as a nestling in France in 2009. Records show she travelled to Lancashire, Wales and Gloucestershire before settling in Somerset in April 2010. Intelligent bird, preferring the WMN catchment area as home. 'Ansome!

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