The Word on the Week


Jackdaw                           Word on the week                                25th May 2024.

Now with the warmer weather the hens are being fed outside.   Their trough is an old metal rain gutter stuck into half a hollow concrete block.   The hens are untidy eaters so the Jackdaws who are waiting nearby are on the alert.

As they see me approach with the bucket of hen pellets they venture close with loud “Chaks” to announce their presence.   They know that there are only a few moments of grace before I open the henhouse and the hungry hens race to the trough.

It’s no contest!   The Jackdaws withdraw to appraise the situation from the hen-run wall.    They are normally in pairs as they mate for life.  They also use the same nest year after year.  

The nest can be in a tree crevice, or an unused house chimney.    Some nest in the wall of an old building in the farmyard.   In my youth we lived near sea cliffs which were topped with layers of heavy red clay.   The clay was a favourite place for rabbits to burrow.   Any disused hole was soon taken over by Jackdaws who lost no time in furnishing it with short sticks and moss.

Occasionally we would find an injured bird and take it home for some TLC.  Their claws would catch your fingers in a vice-like grip.   Gloves were essential, although not always available, for handling them.   It is with these claws that they satisfied their predilection for shiny things.   Rings and something as large as a teaspoon could be carried off to their nest.

The Jackdaws themselves are the smallest of the crow family.    Their plumage is charcoal with a grey nape.   The forehead, chin and beak are jet-black.   Their eyes are pale and stare slightly unnervingly at you!

They come from a family of birds known for their intelligence.   The largest, the Raven, is mentioned in the Bible.   The bird was used by God to feed Elijah during his three-year exile when there was famine in the land (1 Kings 17 verses 1 to 6).  

The faithfulness of the Jackdaws to each other is but a pale reflection of the faithfulness of God in honouring all his promises (Psalm 145 verses 17 to 19).

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them.                                                    

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10 verse 13).