Friday, 17 May 2013


Two days ago a friend of ours who works as a builder in Fowey came into the gallery. He told me had been working on the roof of a nearby house demolishing an old chimney when they made an surprising discovery. As he had taken the old chimney apart he had discovered a Jackdaw nest inside with very young chicks in it. Leaving it where it was was not possible as they had already reached the point of no return. The chimney was unsafe and simply had to come down and he had come to us for help. "Please can you take them and see if you can rescue them" he said.
    Anne and I have rescued and reared many creatures in the past including two other Jackdaws but never such young chicks. We had no choice but to try and help the poor little things so ten minutes later he came back with four tiny chicks still laying in there nest which he had put in a old black bucket. They were only a few days old and already cold, heaven knows how long ago they got there last feed. Anne and I got a hot water bottle to warm them up and began to try and get some food down them. The youngest of the chicks was a lot lot smaller than the other three and sadly he died a few hours later despite our best efforts.
     So now we are left with three which are getting bigger by the hour. I make a wet mush of sunflower crumbs, dog food and a little milk which I mash into a paste and then we feed them with a small syringe. It is a case of little and often (we try to feed them every half hour through the day beginning at 6 am with the last feed around 10.30 pm). Anne has a real knack with small weak creatures which is just as well as feeding them is definitely a two person job.
    As wonderful as Jackdaws are you would have to say this is a face that only a mother could love. They are bald except for a few tint tufts of fluff on their backs with sealed eyes. At the moment they can shakily lift there heads up when they sense us near but we have to open there beaks and squirt small parcels of gunge into their beaks. I am using a heat pad designed for reptile vivariums to keep them warm as in nature there parents would be brooding them almost all of the time. I think they must have been a late brood as the I can hear the chicks in next doors chimney squawking loudly when they are fed so they must be at least two weeks older than our three. From previous experience we know that it is going to be a pretty full time job for the next month if we are going to get them to the point where they can fly away and look after themselves. It is unlikely that they will all survive and maybe non will but Anne and I will do our best to give them a chance. I'm sure there will be many more blogs about our three young Jackdaws.
When you see such a young chick they look so reptilian it is possible to really appreciate that birds evolved from small dinosaurs.

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