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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

24 January, 2010

Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

The most common of the crow family here in Dorset has to be the Jackdaw. Not only is it found in a wide variety of habitat from sea cliffs to quarries, woodland to pasture, towns and villages, where it occurs it is usually in large numbers. At least 100 are frequently around us here in Wareham.

This is a sociable little crow, not only enjoying the company of its own kind but often found with flocks of Rooks and also with Carrion Crows too. Despite these flocks you will often find them in pairs, when perched they are often in twos.

The origin of their name is not really known. The daw is a country name for a crow and it seems to me that their distinctive harsh 'jack' call must lead us to Jackdaw but jack also means both common and small in the country so they could be common crows or small crows, take your pick.

Apart from their characteristic call they are easy to tell apart from the other crows because they are smaller and the back of the head is grey (this is not a sign of ageing!). They are also accomplished fliers, with a more direct and purposeful flight than their cousins. They can be quite aerobatic too, just watch them over the cliffs at Durlston for example.

They have lovely blue eyes and are quite endearing, very intelligent and quite pompous too, just watch them strutting around.