KILDARE WILDLIFE WATCH: Stone the crows, it’s the jackdaw!

From the Bog of Allen Nature Centre

Nuala Madigan

Reporter:

Nuala Madigan

Email:

editor@leinsterleader.ie

KILDARE WILDLIFE WATCH: Stone the crows, it’s the jackdaw!

The Jackdaw Picture: D CAMIER

There are seven members of the crow family, all of which have both strong legs and bills.

The white and black feathers of the magpie make it easy to identify. The jay is a brown bird with a white throat found in woodland habitats. The chough, found along coastal areas, is a black bird with curled red beak. The raven is the largest member within this family, having all-black feathers, beak and legs.

The hooded crow has a distinctive grey body, in contrast, with its black tail, head, breast and wings while the rook is known as the member of the crow family that wears trousers, due to dropping feathers on its belly.

The final species in the crow family is the jackdaw (cág as Gaeilge), which is so widespread in this country that BirdWatch Ireland have both recorded it within the top 20 garden birds and list it as being commonly found in both urban and rural areas.

Jackdaws are the smallest member of the crow family. Like rooks, jackdaws live in colonies. They build their nests in cavities in trees and it is said they form strong bonds with their mates.

The jackdaw is covered in black feathers with those feathers on the nape (the back of the neck) pale grey. One of the most distinctive features of this bird is their pale grey irises.

Jackdaws are omnivores feeding on seeds, fruit and invertebrates. Jackdaws found in rural areas eat more invertebrates, when compared with those found in urban areas which take advantage of seeds left out on garden bird feeders.

The jackdaw lays between four and five blue/green eggs that are speckled brown. The female incuabates the eggs, and once the chicks hatch they are altricial, meaning they cannot move around when first born.

Both males and females feed the young, which will fledge around 28 to 35 days later.

Even after fledging their parents continue to feed the young fledglings for up to four weeks. Look out for the jackdaw in your community this week.

If you would like to suggest a species to focus on for ‘Wildlife Watch’ contact the Bog of Allen Nature Centre on 045 860133 or email bogs@ipcc.ie