Jackdaws and social isolation

Image: Jackdaw nosing in a neighbours chimney, courtesy of Crowcombe Al and Flickr under Creative Commons

These are strange times and we all cope in different ways. Some of my relatives have been amusing me with tales of exploding slugs (of which more another time) and jackdaws in chimneys, a tale which seemed to suit rhyming couplets, so I thought that today I’d simply share the story of Jack Daw…


Perhaps it was coronavirus that got him all upset 
for jackdaws are a social bird, they live in groups, and yet
here he was, trying to escape. 
Social distancing had got to him, he wasn’t in good shape.

He couldn’t find a face mask that fitted beaked jackdaws 
and sanitisers were for hands, they might not work on claws.
He’d heard a rumour that you could catch the virus from a feather 
and very soon he felt he was at the limit of his tether 

so, leaving Margery behind with all the chicks inside
Jack set out, looking for a quiet place to hide.
He found a pot, a tunnel, dark and deep, 
a private place where he could think, and maybe get some sleep.

But sleep was soon disturbed by a snuffling below –
a dog had sensed his presence, it was time for him to go, 
but though he’d flown in and down, quite easily and simply 
it was quite hard to fly straight up and get out of the chimney.

Remaining there forever was not to be his fate.
Beneath his feet it seemed there was a moving metal plate 
and human intervention now came to his rescue – 
the plate removed he breached the gap, and then he simply flew. 

He left a trail of feathers and a smattering of soot 
on settee, on TV set, on the bed where slept the mutt;
on coffee table, mantelpiece and the carpet on the floor
before he saw the outside world and flew straight out the door.

He’s now back with his family, his right and proper station,
quite reconciled to joining them in social isolation. 

Tony Earnshaw

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