It was a very hot summer’s afternoon and I was just seeing my good friend leave, when we came across a young Jackdaw just outside my door on the garden path.
Somehow, I felt an intuitive sense that the little bird needed my help and saw that he couldn’t fly up off the ground. He made his way round the side of the garden and I saw him go into the bin bunker.
I went to get a small animal carrier out of the boot of my car, and then went to check on the little one.
I found the little bird hiding behind the bins in the dark and underneath some tarpaulin sheets. The wee thing was obviously just looking for safety and rest. I carefully put some fleece over him and carefully lifted him into the carrier.
I have had pet rats for some years and my last girl, Kira had recently passed away about 4 weeks previous to this meeting with the bird. I had been procrastinating taking the rat toys out of the cage and putting them away, as I was still feeling too much emotion about it. And yet, that morning, I had cleaned a little area in the rat cage and was feeling closer to being able to start cleaning/sorting through the rats’ housing.
And so, conveniently, I had the large top part of the cage to put the little bird in whilst I could assess his condition. There didn’t appear to be any obvious injury, except for the wings appearing a little ruffled.
And so it happened, that for practical reasons, there I was, taking some of the rat toys down and making space for the little bird to nest and rest.
I didn’t think too much about changing the cage things around because it was a requirement and in aid of helping the little bird!
I used some of the rat fleece and a wooden hut that had been Kira’s bed for the 9 weeks I had been nursing her. I turned the hut on its’ side and it made the perfect little ‘nest’ enclosure for the jackdaw.
The little bird wasn’t too timid. In fact, after putting him into the cage, he quite happily and trustingly perched upon my arm and nestled down to sleep right there!
I was touched by his trusting nature and presence. It was clear now that the wee soul was exhausted. I got him some water with a few drops of rescue remedy in it and he drank a fair amount.
It was a very touching experience that the little one trusted me so quickly and seemed quite content once he realized I was there to help.
I had been through a similar experience once before with a young jackdaw a few years back that had been attacked by magpies. And so, this experience was very similar and familiar.
I believe the combination of the intense heat that day and whatever happened to the bird, had just left the wee thing exhausted. I thought he might be a recent fledgling and had maybe got pecked at so that he couldn’t fly. He seemed more exhausted than anything.
After a good drink I put the little bird into the wooden rat house with some fleece and tissues. He went to sleep and slept for most of the afternoon.
I left him alone to nip to the shops to pick up some food for him, and when I came home, he was still enjoying dozing and seemed very comfortable.
I brought in a few different foods to try with him after doing a bit of research online. Some soaked dog food, birdseed, sunflowers etc. He had even pecked away at some melon.
He kept drinking whenever I offered him water, and he was now curiously looking around and taking in his new surroundings.
He knew he was safe now and I kept speaking to him in soft comforting tones. He was happy to perch/sit on my hand anytime.
(Animals pick up on our intentions to help them if we communicate this to them. When we speak and act gently they are quick to relax and trust us).
I would stroke the little bird too, just lightly on its breast and his head. He liked to hop onto my hand and just be with me, as I gave him a wee tour of the room. I kept speaking to him, telling him I was helping him and that he was safe in a soft loving tone.
And so, my bedtime came and I said goodnight to the little bird. I left him out a variety of food and a water bowl.
The next morning I awoke early, around 5am, and was keen to check on my little visitor in the living room!
The wee birdy looked more alert and was awake and content. I don’t think he had eaten much. I masticated some cashew nut in my mouth and he had a little of that.
I wanted him to have some strength for the potential flight home!
I called him Blue after his lovely blue eyes.
And so, flight training began!!!
I took Blue over to the sofa and bobbed my arm up and down a few times whilst encouraging him to fly over to the arm rest. He did this successfully!
I then encouraged him to come back onto my hand and repeated the exercise a few times, each time encouraging him to fly to the arm rest. He was perking up and seemed to be enjoying the ‘game’!
He managed this exercise well and I could see that after all his pruning, his wings were looking healthy, and he was able to fly perfectly!
After a few times, the little bird confidently stretched his neck up and looked well pleased with himself! He squawked a few times and I knew it was time for him to leave me.
I took Blue over to the kitchen window and opened it wide. Once he heard the sounds of the birds outside, he moved his head side to side as he began recognizing and registering a more familiar landscape of sound.
He made a few calls again. Then we waited quietly.
I could hear Jackdaws in the distance, maybe a few blocks away, ‘replying’ in response to Blue’s calling.
Blue went silent. Still waiting…
And then I would hear the Jackdaws a little closer again!
We must have been waiting for about 15 minutes, and at one point, I wondered if this little one might be abandoned?
2 adult jackdaws arrived on the phone line a few metres about the window! The adults were looking around wondering where the little one was! They could hear him but hadn’t spotted him yet as they excitedly kept looking!
I was saying, ‘Down here! Down here! Look! Look, he’s here!’
And just then, all 3 of them were squawking loudly and excitedly for a few moments and Blue got so excited, he tried to get up on top of the window pane. There was so much excitement and joy in the calls! I could feel this joyful reunion inside of me, it was beautifully exhilarating and moving!
I gave Blue the last bit of help he needed from me, as I lifted him up onto the window sidebar. A few more calls, and he flew upwards with the two adults simultaneously, all 3 flying away together….
I burst into tears!!!
It was just such a moving experience with a blend of sadness at the departure of my friend and yet, ecstatic joy for the reunion I had just been witness to!
As I watched, I saw Blue and his parents land a few gardens along. I assume this would be a first landing rest before heading onto their territory and home.
I can only hope that all went well for Blue as I know my little friend would have needed food to give him strength. I am sure he was in good hands/wings now!
I am so grateful that I was able to help Blue get the rest he needed that day, and have a second chance at life. The connection I felt with him as he gave me his unconditional trust and affection (in his own way), spoke volumes to my heart.
And now when I hear the jackdaws, I feel a heightened appreciation whilst tuning into their voices, and a deepened connection to the world of birds, which I am so fond of.
Taking care of an animal in need can have such a profound effect on our being and can seem like the gateway into another dimension almost.
They invite us into experiencing life from their perspective and we can learn so much from their alignment with nature.
They remind of us of our own deeper connection with the natural world in a time when we moved with our instincts and felt the energy from the earth through our feet and senses.
This ‘earthly’ connection has been dampened to a large extent, as we moved away from the natural world to build houses/cities and started wearing shoes.
Appreciating wild animals or taking care of them when they need us to, offers us the opportunity to connect with another species, in a way that fosters amazing connectedness and unconditional love.
They help to reconnect us to the wild a part of our selves that was once very attuned with the natural world. They remind us of the world we can still be a part of. A chance to return to Eden. We left, but they didn’t.
As I stood at the window that day, with Blue perched on my shoulder and then my hand….as we both listened to the natural world. I got a sense of how different that place really is. It’s like another dimension of existence we are not really living in anymore. It can be brutal for sure, for the animals carving out a life, but there’s something so majestic, wild and beautiful too. Perhaps the Creator, through the animals, is calling to us, calling us home….to return to the garden.
As we listened to the cacophony of sounds of the various species of birds, I said to Blue, ‘it’s a jungle out there little one, be careful!’
I wish you well my friend. And thank you for your trust, your love, beauty and acceptance…….and for calling me (us) home.
Fly well, fly free, I love you always.
See you around!