This morning, as I usually do, I woke early. I went downstairs, opened the back door, and -not for the first time- sat my sound recorder on a garden wall, opposite the tall trees that stand behind our house.
This goes on for about three-quarters of an hour every morning. Jackdaws, Rooks, Carrion Crows. Crow City. I can’t get enough of it. With regard to intelligence, they say corvids are the “big apes” of the bird-world. If so, we are extraordinarily lucky to have this crowd living almost literally on our doorstep. People travel to remote parts of Africa to see big apes living in the wild. All we have to do to enjoy these critters is open the window and listen.
Konrad Lorenz wrote about Jackdaw behaviour in his book, King Solomon’s Ring. He identified “kia” as Jackdaw-speak for “fly away with me” and “kiaw” as “fly back home”. I’ve not read the book but I have read about it. Apparently all but one of his jackdaw colony were slaughtered by a mink. The survivor sat alone for a long time calling kiaw, kiaw.