ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jackie the Jackdaw: Childhood Friend I Have Never Forgotten

Updated on April 18, 2016

Jackdaws are Intelligent and Gregarious

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jackdaws are very affectionate with family members.The lad, Ben, in this photo could have been the author many moons ago.This is Remi.  Jackie and my deceased Mini-Schnauzer, Chico, compete for first place in my memories.
Jackdaws are very affectionate with family members.
Jackdaws are very affectionate with family members.
The lad, Ben, in this photo could have been the author many moons ago.
The lad, Ben, in this photo could have been the author many moons ago.
This is Remi.  Jackie and my deceased Mini-Schnauzer, Chico, compete for first place in my memories.
This is Remi. Jackie and my deceased Mini-Schnauzer, Chico, compete for first place in my memories.

Some Memories Time Cannot Erase

The Friend I Never Forgot.

As a family, perhaps we have had problems with people - that certainly applies to me. My friends are few and several have died without me finding replacements. But my mother and I have partially made up for this possible deficiency in our characters by melting at the sight of many of the other creatures which share this planet with man. We always had dogs, and assorted wild creatures “recovering” in boxes and crates. I once had 17 cats, because I couldn’t bring my self to chop their organs up and neutralize their life force. OK, I was wrong and I’m sorry to say, the coyotes of South Baja did that for me and my “pride” was gradually culled until only a few cats now roam the hills of El Triunfo, battle-scarred and the terror of the local curs. Anyone who has seen a semi-feral cat see-off a dog will know what I mean: looks like a cross between a Whirling Dervish and a buzz-saw.
Despite memories of my beloved Mini-Schnauzer, Chico, who I loved deeply for many years, the pet which always looms large in my long-term memory at this time of the year was Jackie, my orphaned Jackdaw, who shared my young life for four years.
I say this time of the year, because the fledglings are adventuring into the world; we have a lot of ivy-bedecked trees around here (near Hatfield forest) and lots of sleek, grey-polled “Jackies.”
There was one in our cricket field over the last few days as I walked around in the evening getting my constitutional. It had apparently left the nest a bit early and sat dejectedly by the fence, under the trees from which it fell. It had the typical, squashed-face and Donald Duck beaky look of the nestling. It tried to fly away at my approach but could only manage a sprawling scuttle for a few yards across the course grass. I feared for it as this is cat heaven around here at this time of the year: clumps of feathers lay everywhere around the field where song-bird chicks had paid the price of enthusiastic entry into a cruel world before they could rise above it, so to speak. Not to mention foxes, hawks, owls and deranged idiots with air-guns.
But a jackdaw is not a blackbird: much bigger and tougher, especially mum who was coming down to feed the littleun, right by where I walked, without any fear.
You see, that is because I can speak jackdaw.
Their peculiar call is like a cross between a herring- gull and other members of the crow family who caw. You can’t represent a sound in text, but many will have heard jackdaws calling and know what I mean. I inflated my ageing lungs, 50 years flew away, as I cried, “Eeeeeyowww” Mother jackdaw gave me that look birds reserve for the crazed, but did seem to appreciate my efforts, as she fed the chick happily for the next two days while I strolled by, until I gratefully saw the baby was back in the trees having learned the elements of defying gravity.

Anyhow, Jackie - my Jackie - was a fledgeling just like this when I found him at a scout camp as a 12-year-old and “rescued him.”
I looked a sight arriving back at my Broadstairs home with Jackie on my shoulder, bird lime streaks all the way down the back of my new Mac. After an argument and histrionics on my part, Jackie became part of the family, beginning a love affair that was to last several years.
Jackie lived on the veranda in a large aviary built by my father. When I came home from school during the long summer evenings he was allowed out. He loved to play: tearing up cardboard in a pretended mini-fury; terrorising the chickens until a broody hen put a stop to that by jumping on him and squashing him until his squawks brought me running to boot the chicken across the garden. Sorry, chooky, but that was Jackie you were killing.
We went for walks all over the nearby fields and country roads. Jackie sitting on my shoulder, occasionally nibbling my ear and casting glittering black eyes at birds flying overhead. He, of course, saw himself as my brother; and I adored Jackie with the love a lonely only-child will have for a pet; he felt the same way about me I am sure.
I wish this story had a happy ending and tears course down my face even after all this time, as I record these final words.
I arrived home one fateful day, calling to Jackie even as I ran up the hall towards the back door and the veranda. “Bobby,” mum whispered, intercepting me in mid-flight. “Jackie’s not there, dad gave him away to the pet shop today.” There followed a raft of excuses, but I was inconsolable for weeks, maybe months, I can’t recall. I hated my father and mother and wouldn’t speak for days only demanding the return of my beloved Jackie. The pet shop man refused to comment and I remember trying to pummel him with my fists.
I wasn’t until many years later that mum told me what had really happened and what they had hidden from me on that awful day. Jackie had got out into the front garden, through the fence and, no doubt cackling with sinful, Jackdaw glee, fluttered straight under the wheels of a passing car. My parents hadn’t given him away at all, a fact I would have discovered quickly as a mature person, but took me in and enraged me as a teen. They had called the pet shop man and told him to say nothing if I came up there as I certainly would.
Poor mum and dad, long gone now, they took it on the chin thinking it would be easier for me to bear if I thought he had lived on somewhere, loved and enjoying his little jackdaw furies with another child. But it wouldn’t have mattered, Jackie had abandoned me and the tears still come over that today.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Amanda: yes, I remember the pain right up to this day. I was an only monster, which no doubt added to the intensity of what I felt for Jackie...and he for me, no doubt.

      I also had a rook for a while like your jackdaw and he flew off after he was ok and joined the others on top of St Mary's, an old convent. One day my mother called to him, "Rufus," and he flew down and landed on her shoulder! This was ages after he went back to the wild. Golden moment. Bob x

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      8 years ago from UK

      What a sad tale. You must have been devastated. We also had a pet jackdaw for a while when I was very small, which is what drew me to this hub. I'm the fifth child of six, and it was my older siblings who rescued the young jackdaw from a cats attentions, and brought him home for my Dad to sort out. He was housed in an old parrot cage they acquired from somewhere, and he stayed with us until his wing had mended. During his time with us he learned to mimic my brother's whistle, and the boys would whistle for him in the woods after he'd flown off to his new life.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)