What kind of animal is a jackdaw
I use to say that the mention of my jackdaws opens floods of eloquence for me. After all, these animals have accompanied us for twenty years of our lives, with all the beautiful experiences and difficulties that animal husbandry brings with it.
It was a school friend from the “Graphische” who, in my loneliness, called me from the office in the morning, used to wake me up and said that I should keep an animal, preferably a jackdaw.
At that time everyone read "He talked to the fish and the birds" by Konrad Lorenz, who describes the social behavior of these birds. My curiosity was piqued. In the famous Findeis pet shop
In the Wollzeile there was such a tame bird that looked at me with its blue eyes and bristling head feathers.
But it was not for sale.
I fooled all of Vienna's pet shops for such a bird, but was turned away; I may look around for a parrot.
My first jackdaw came into the house because the writer Judith Zenkl, with whom I was working, flew it into her apartment on Modena Park after a thunderstorm.
The "Bumsti" lived mainly on my shoulder and slept on an upside-down broom.
Of course it didn't look clean at all and my brother-in-law Alfred, Sister Traude's husband, turned away in disgust.
Friends built me a jackdaw cage. The poor animal, which was used to flying after me everywhere and also "banged" against closing doors, had to go in and when he was alone for a long time, I found him longingly clinging to the bars.
And when I went to Brussels, I had only had him for a few months, he had to go to the animal shelter.
I told this story the following year to my schoolmates from Rahlgasse, who had gathered at my place; it was the tenth anniversary of our high school diploma. The next day a colleague brought me a small jackdaw with a white beak that had fallen from the tree in the Prater.
Bumsti immediately gave poor "plum", as I called her, a blow on her still white beak, which grew into a crossbill as a result of this injury and always had to be properly filed.
Then Bumsti got sick. With a bird you can tell immediately if it is not doing well - it had to go to the vet: tuberculosis; people snipped their tongues and gave drugs.
But one morning he was dead on the floor. Friend Hartwig came with a shoebox and buried him in his garden.
Zwetschke was alone and I had to find a companion for her. My animal dealer on Märzstrasse, who supplied me with mealworms and fish-smelling food for insect eaters, got me two magnificent jackdaws from the Küniglberg animal station.
Professor König owed him, which he denied--
The jackdaws and the debts when I was once introduced to him among the youth and the people.
I called them Willy and Mutz. They were magnificent animals and did not become very aggressive against plums either. Of course there were always rank fights. Every morning the sand on the bottom of the cage was changed and before that the whole gang was allowed to bathe in warm water. That was a time-consuming ceremony, because first you walked around on the edge of the lavoir, and then, with outstretched wings, you sprayed the water over a wide area. The sparrows do the same in rain puddles, only jackdaws are much bigger. Our Czech caretaker helped me deal with the mess twice a week. I had to do the rest by myself.
When Françoise was born, I asked our pediatrician
whether I should keep the animals.
He didn't mind and the stroller was put to the cage.
The first thing Françoise watched for hours was the hopping back and forth of these gray-black, elegant animals.
At some point an old couple asked for asylum for a tame jackdaw that had become homeless after a garden sale.
I forgot her name, as well as the name of the fifth jackdaw that was sitting on the cage one Sunday evening when we got home. Mrs. Reiff, the caretaker, had taken it over from relatives who were looking for quarters for the animal.
The whole gang sometimes made a terrible noise, a lot of work and a lot of joy.
We had the strangest babysitters for her, friend Hartwig, Nicki, the doctor and a Mexican who spent a summer practicing the piano with us because his pianist's scholarship was over and he no longer had suitable accommodation.
The jackdaw Mutz, which had received white feathers, like its namesake, a friend, and Zwetschke, the oldest, died in my hand.
I wanted to tear out a white feather from dead Mutz, as a reminder
but couldn't do it. I drew the dead plum.
(Never again experience this dying, I said to myself with our cats, too, but you can hardly resist being able to stroke a fur again and watch these wonderful animals!
The last jackdaw died in 1980. Praise God, I wasn't in Vienna and immediately asked my husband to remove the cage and everything related to the animals.
Whenever we're out and about and see or hear jackdaws, we still get heart palpitations. The best thing about our relationship with these birds was the closeness: I was able to hold them while sitting on my hand, they cleaned the rims of my eyes, nose and ears and took pre-chewed food out of my mouth,
without ever hurting me.
But, they could hurt too. The beak lashes when they did not want to be held were considerable.
But the best thing was when one of them wanted to bathe in the sun on my shoulder: I sat down in front of the closed window in the sunlit bay window, the jackdaw spread out on my shoulder, spread its wings with its beak wide open, and put them around my neck. I was wrapped in bird wings up to my ears. For these moments we accepted all the drudgery.
I was also able to see the animals and the aviary from a height of at least 2m
And 90 × 120 cm in length was in my studio, while watching my work. To my shame I confess that I did not draw them enough.
In my storybooks, however, there are many ravens.
Many observations have probably flowed into this.
Since the cat's pussy came to us when we already had jackdaws, the most delicious situations arose. I confess I put the cat in the cage once to see what would happen. A jackdaw flew on her head and ruffled her ears so miserably that she retained a certain longing to pull out her claws for life, but at the same time had a huge respect for them.
Sometimes Pussy sat in front of the closed cage as if she was watching TV.
When I was made aware of the impropriety of this behavior, she shook a paw in disgust and crept away.
When I let the jackdaws walk around freely, their first way was to the cat bowl, where there was always delicious asterisks, a popular dry food. They shuffled there on foot as if they were wearing old leather slippers.
But from the anteroom you could also go into the kitchen, where the bowl was. Now pussy came stalking up and looked at the theft with googly eyes.
But she had a good memory and crept away again
Another jackdaw story to honor my French mother-in-law's pun:
Everyone knows that Jean's books are his sanctuaries. We sat at the table, Zwetschke hopped around on it, then, as usual, occupied herself with a matchbox by sticking her beak into the slot and unlocking it
and got out match after match.
When that got boring, she hopped on a book lying around and chatted a lot on it.
“Oh, c’est une cacastrophe!” Said the Baronne, as we called my mother-in-law, pointedly. She had a lot of success.
One last story: Jean used to shave on Sundays in front of a mirror that hangs next to the front door in the anteroom. During that time the jackdaws were always free. Willi flew onto Jean's shoulder and courted him. As A - animals of the jackdaw colony we were of course very popular. During courtship, the birds vibrate their wings and tails. The idyll did not last long, because the jackdaw Mutz came flying in from behind and rudely pulled Willi to the ground.
The whole thing was accompanied by loud nagging.
Jealousy played a major role in these gregarious animals.
Mutual advances also often resulted in aggression.
Eggs were also laid (we had small houses installed in the cage), but they were never fertilized or hatched.
These animals were extremely clean, they cleaned themselves all day, greased and smoothed their feathers, and bathed as often as they were allowed.
For years after the last jackdaw died, I kept its fancy feathers in a tin box. They always smelled equally good of the animals. One day worms got into it and I had to get rid of this memory too. We housed jackdaws for a total of twenty years.
who still wants to see jackdaw drawings ...
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