Today I saw a sight just like this one: a jackdaw with its wings spread, laid out on the grass in bright, warm sunshine. It wasn’t injured (I checked!); it just seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.
It was wonderful to watch.
Jackdaws (corvus monedula) are “a small, black, sociable crow. They’re handsome birds with a silvery sheen and pale eye” (RSPB). “Jackdaws partner up in their first spring as adult birds and stay faithful to each other all their lives” (Wildlife Garden).
My relationship with jackdaws started when I was around eight years old. When I was that age I had bright hair and frequently wore shiny alice bands, both of which attracted the attention of next door’s pet jackdaw. I was minding my own business, and the next thing I knew I could feel claws in my scalp and felt the light weight of a bird on my head. Aged eight, I was completely terrified! I slowly walked to my back door, knocked quietly to try to get my dad’s attention, and was relieved when he finally came out and the bird flew off.
Later that year, on holiday, I was eyeing some jackdaws nervously. I looked away for a second, and felt the touch of claws on my head again! I had learned from the last time and waved my arms around and it flew off. A few years later I was in a beautiful park with my grandmother and I was telling her the story of the previous two jackdaws that had landed on my head. We were laughing, and the next thing I knew? JACKDAW ON MY HEAD. AGAIN.
From then until a couple of years ago, I was terrified of jackdaws. I would freak out when they were near me. Gradually I’ve started to think of them more affectionately, and now I’m actually quite fond of them. For whatever reasons they were attracted to my hair or just wanted to land on me, I have build a connection with them into my personal history.
My name is Hare, and three jackdaws have landed on my head in my life so far. I think that’s why I like this painting so much:
I don’t know quite how they fit into my spirituality, not quite yet, but I love seeing them. Maybe the hare is Brigid and the jackdaw is the Cailleach? I’m looking forward to figuring it out.