Jackdaws belong to the birds of the Corvidae family, moreover, they are one of the smallest birds in this family. The mass of an adult jackdaw rarely exceeds 250 g. You can meet jackdaws practically throughout Europe, with the exception of the north of Scandinavia. In addition to Europe, these birds are also found in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Sometimes they can be seen in Siberia, India and the Arabian Peninsula. More often jackdaws prefer to settle in settlements than in the wild.
The Russian name for this bird comes from the ancient Slavic word "gal", which means "black". In the Czech Republic, the jackdaw is called “kafka”, in Poland “kavka”, in Portugal “gralha”, and in Finland - “naakka”. And the Latin name is "monedula", that is, "coin". In one of the poems of the ancient Roman poet Ovid, it is said about the princess Arne Sifn, who betrayed her country for money to the ruler of Crete Minos, for which she was turned into a bird.
Not all jackdaws are migratory birds. Those birds that live in the northern regions go to winter in warm countries. They leave their homeland with the onset of cold weather, and return back in the spring. Birds that live in Western Europe and the Caucasus prefer to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
If desired, the daw can be taught to repeat some words after a person. You need to practice with her regularly, repeating the same phrases. But, this is possible only if the bird got to the person as a chick. taming an adult is almost impossible. It is also believed that jackdaws have excellent memory, the jackdaw can recognize a person who has caused harm even after a long time. In captivity, these birds can live up to 15 years, while in natural conditions, life expectancy is almost half that.
In the wild, jackdaws are thrifty birds. If they come across a lot of food, then they hide part of the prey for a "rainy day", using secluded places as storerooms. Jackdaws soak too hard food in water and wait patiently for it to soften.
Like other birds from the family of corvids, jackdaws are omnivorous. They can eat both plant food and animals - insects, snail worms and even small rodents. Jackdaws also love to dig into food waste, so city dumps and dumpsters are an excellent opportunity for them to replenish their diet. Jackdaws often cause damage to gardeners and gardeners, damaging fruits and crops. But, at the same time, they help fight harmful insects and rodents.
In the Middle Ages, jackdaws, like other birds from the corvid family, were often considered the culprits of hunger. In England, royal decrees have been issued several times stating that these birds are harmful to agriculture and must be destroyed.
Jackdaws create pairs for a long time. If the bird family did not break up in the first months, then the male and female remain together until the end of their lives. As a rule, the clutch consists of 4-6 eggs. Chicks hatch after about three weeks. Both parents look after the offspring. At the age of one month, young animals leave their parental nests.
Birds that live in different regions have minor differences. For example, the jackdaws of Central Asia have larger wings than their European counterparts. And those, in turn, have a darker color. Many people often confuse jackdaws with crows or rooks, although it is not very difficult to distinguish between them. Jackdaws are much smaller in size, have black plumage, only dark gray feathers on the neck. Jackdaws' eyes are much lighter than those of crows and rooks.
Even bird watchers cannot name the exact number of jackdaws on our planet. A variety of figures are cited - from 20 to 90 million individuals. Most of the birds live in Europe. This bird is mentioned in "The Lay of Igor's Campaign" - a literary work of Russia, written in the XII century.
Little daw Khvatayka became the hero of the work of the writer Eduard Uspensky "Uncle Fyodor, dog and cat". Thanks to the efforts of the cat Matroskin, he learned to pronounce the phrase: "Who is there?" It is interesting that a tame jackdaw lived near Ouspensky himself, who loved to tear up manuscripts and snatch a burning cigarette.
In 2015, the museum of Zvenigorod near Moscow received an unusual collection of old papers - pages of ancient books, documents, scraps of letters. All this was discovered during the restoration of the Assumption Cathedral. As it turned out, the jackdaws had been collecting valuable exhibits for their nests for many years. Real treasures of great interest to researchers were kept under the roof of the cathedral. In a pile of papers, there were sheets of a calendar for 1917, pre-war coupons for bread, candy wrappers from the late 19th century, match labels and cigarette packs. All this was collected by the birds in the surrounding streets and carried to the nests. With their help, local historians from Zvenigorod were able to restore many interesting pages from the history of the city.