22.3.06

Jackdaws in the chimney

The jackdaws are nesting in the chimney again, a sure sign that spring is here. The inside of the chimney is quite wide, and runs behind up the stone wall of our bedroom. Four years ago, when we first heard these ghostly scrabblings, we feared rats. Mice I can deal with, especially if they're as cute as 'Enry. But rats - no. However, the cheerful 'chack-chacks' reassured us. Weeks later we heard the thin, hungry cries of the chicks - the nest must be almost parallel with our bed, and never fails to get the cats in a tizzy, as they try to work out why the wall is cheeping. Every year since, they have returned to raise a new family, as do other pairs in surrounding cottages. Such a flurry of avian excitement as the fledglings emerge in early summer, gawkily stumbling on the chimney pots and roof ridges, the adults chattering encouragement and flapping about nervously. Like most anxious parents, they want their chicks to learn independence, but can't help fussing and fretting. There was a horrible moment in that first year, when I lit the woodburner in late spring. And then remembered the little family in the chimney stack...visions of pitiful charred corpses, with beaks still gaping for food came to mind. But we were woken the next morning by their chattering, so they must nest out of harms way. I daresay that generations of jackdaws have been nesting here for as long as the cottage has been built, 240 odd years and have worked out where it's safe to settle. They are such social birds, and so intelligent. They are welcome to our chimney.

I've made a bit of a meal out of the artworks for 'girly giftbook'. They were only small paintings, but seemed to take forever. They're done now and here they are ready to be packed up.




Now I'm down to two jobs - still lots to do for 'woodland creatures', and a new poster for 5-7 magazine. I've got an urge to start a new toy painting; poor old 'Celia' has been nursing her egg for months, (and it is nearly Easter). Time for a bit of personal work, I think, and indulge myself.



8 comments:

Joanna said...

How fun to have your yearly visitors back in residence. The birds here are all bulding nests too. moor hens down by the pond and the magpies in the tree. Glad you have the urge to do a new toy painting, celia do doubt will be very pleased her egg hatches! Have fun

Donna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Donna said...

Sorry about that deleted comment, that was me, It didn't make sense :-/ I'll try again!

How lovely to have your jackdaws back.

Poor Celia, I know how she feels. This time last year I too was nursing my egg, waiting for it to hatch, willing every day for it to be THE day. My little egg will be 1 on Sunday :-)

CAS said...

Having jackdaws nesting in the chimney seems to be a fairly common Oxfordshire thing! Real nuisance when the nest collapses though - a friend of mine had that happen; the bundle of twigs was very shortly followed by two very sooty jackdaws!

What a mess!

tlc illustration said...

At least it's not rats!!!! No rats!

Your illustrations look lovely. Finished projects always feel good! Best wishes on the upcoming projects and personal work.

Aren't spring blue-skies wonderful?

Gail said...

Glad to hear the spring visitors have arrived - that's a sure sign ...

Those illustrations look great!

ApricotSmoothie said...

I have jackdaws nesting in my chimney too! Don't you think that they make a horrible noise sometimes though? a bit like a baby crying? (thats not a very good description, but its quite a grating sound!)

ApricotSmoothie said...

I've got jackdaws nesting in my chimney too! But don't you think they sometimes make a horrible sound? A bit like a baby crying? (not the best description, but it is a really grating sound!) One of the older jackdaws fell down my chimney when they first began making their nest... i hope their babies don't as it is hard to get them out!