8 February 2020

Took Rosie the reluctant cocker spaniel for a drag up to Crow Nest Wood shortly before dusk. Jackdaws were congregating in one of the beech trees at the edge of the wood. To Rosie’s relief, I decided to stand and watch them for a while, as they chaked and fidgeted. Small groups of new birds flew in sporadically from different directions. As each new group neared the roost, the birds in the tree called out greetings. Then, after ten minutes or so, for no reason I could fathom, an alarm call from a single bird was duplicated and spread in a split second throughout the roost. All the birds took flight, amid a clamour of squarks.

Jackdaws roosting in Crow Nest Wood
Jackdaws roosting in Crow Nest Wood

The flock billowed and split, then re-coalesced and headed off towards more distant trees. But, during the next five minutes or so, they returned in dribs and drabs to their preferred original tree.

Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is currently working on a book about looking at the world through Darwin’s eyes.Website · Newsletter · Mastodon · Facebook

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