The Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is the smallest of the UK’s eight corvid (or crow) species. Recognisable from the others not only by its size but by its silvery/grey hood, pale eyes and distinctive ‘jack’ call. It is from the call that the bird gets its name.

Jackdaws are probably best known form dropping large numbers of sticks down chimneys in the spring as they try to cornet a nest. However there is more to this diminutive corvid than meets the eye.

Photo of a JackdawPhoto credit: Graham Coules

A social bird, the Jackdaw lives in small flocks throughout the year. Because of this group living they have adapted many complex social structures and interactions.

The Jackdaw will pair for life, which can be as long as nineteen years, but is more typically around five years. The pair will stay together year round and once paired with her mate the female assumes the social rank of the male within the flock.

Breeding begins early in the year, with eggs being laid in March. The nest will usually be located in a hole in a tree or building; providing a safe place for the four or five chicks to grow.

Once the young have fledged they will likely stay in the local area for most of their lives. Jackdaws are generally sedentary with some birds from the continent joining the resident birds for the winter months.

Jackdaws are intelligent and adaptable. They have observed using tools and will also care for injured relatives. It is this intelligence and adaptability that has served them well in a world radically altered by humans.

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