Raucous Jackdaws

It sounded like a herd of elephants trampling over the roof as I was rudely woken around 6.30am!  There was clattering, banging and a rumpus above me that sounded as if it was making its way swiftly down the chimney into my bedroom. To be honest I sat up in bed and simply stared at the chimney breast, waiting to see what, if anything, was going to transpire.  I fully expected something to appear in the hearth and in my sleepy stupor continued to wait, listening to the ongoing fracas around the chimney pots…but nothing appeared.

So, as my bleary eyes cleared I realised that the jackdaws had arrived, contending their right to have the best chimney pot to construct their twiggy nest in. I should be used to it by now but their noisy attitude to the task never fails to surprise me. Thankfully, they can’t get to build their precious home in the chimneys that are being used. But there are two redundant pots that they can, and do, call home on a regular basis and they are welcome to them. Far be it from me to discourage birds during their nesting period and I’ve always loved the chuck-chucking call of the jackdaws. There’s something quite spiritual about it  and I’ll always stop to listen to these cheeky, mischievous birds wherever I am.

I particularly love their company in the garden when I’m working away at the bank side. They are usually bounding about on the cottage roof but will venture down into the garden to look for nesting twigs, of which I have plenty laying about. With their silver-grey markings like a head scarf around their heads they try to balance along the fence posts and look rather comical and ungainly… Yet they still have a certain charm about them.  It’s a charm that can lose its power though when they help themselves to the twigs from the decorative heart which hangs above the cottage door! These mischievous characters have even been known to knock over my besom and help themselves to the twigs from  that too. Where it once had a full quota of twigs, it is now nearly as bald as the proverbial coot!

My garden isn’t large but it’s full of flowers and herbs which are mostly planted on a bank of earth It’s not a quintessential cottage garden but it does reflect where I live. I’m a cum-be-chance gardener leaving plants that come-by-chance where they land and that’s where they stay. They usually seem to do well so who am I, in the big scheme of things, to deter them from flourishing by moving them? Large or not, my garden is my solace, it soothes and calms – gives me time to think and to be peaceful. It is a continuation of the surrounding Exmoor, which lies on the other side of the hedgerows that surround my personal space.

Here, in my garden, I hear the song of a cacophony of birds. I share my space with those that  make you stop and listen through the sheer joy of  being witness to such a sound and those, also, whose voices are not as tuneful. All are welcome – I’ll take the rough with the smooth because they are part of the rich tapestry here on Exmoor. I am lucky as I can throw open the cottage windows and listen to a dawn chorus second to none, should the fancy take me, without even having to leave the house. A simple but effective pleasure that calms the soul and kicks off yet another day.

My raucous, noisy friends continued their frenzy on the cottage roof for some days, waking me early with their discussion.  I really don’t mind them – they make me smile and if you can start the day with a smile on your face, then that can’t be bad, can it?


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