It had been fairly overcast for most of the day. I decided to put out extra bird food most of which I scattered on the patio around the bird table. About thirty minutes later I could hear a noise from the birds. It was loud. More and more of them began calling almost in unison … I had never encountered anything in my life quite like it before. I thought that it must have been an argument about the ‘pecking’ order regarding the food I had placed outside. I glanced out of the window and there was not a bird in sight … but still the calling persisted – each bird was almost semi-shouting their calls. In the front garden I could see members of the crow family, mainly magpies and jackdaws with a large black crow dotted here and there. They lined the roof tops, the walls, the trees and the hedges each one calling out. Several flew overhead and then began diving down towards the ground. Swiftly they plummeted suddenly changing direction at the last minute – they circled around and repeated the action several times over. I went outside to try and see why they were doing this – I had never seen a mixed flock before. On next door’s driveway a bird cowered near to the hedge. Another was on top of it – it was a bird of prey clawing at a bedraggled bird which was standing and calling out for help. As I approached the bird of prey (only a small one about the size of a sparrowhawk) flew up into the air. Immediately several magpies and jackdaws and a solitary crow sped after it and began bombarding it – it barely managed to escape. Meanwhile, the distressed and very dishevelled bird on the floor flew up onto a nearby rooftop … it turned out to be a jackdaw.
I think that it eventually recovered after quite a long rest.
I have never seen birds collectively try to rescue another bird like this before.
Today, I saw a mixed flock of magpies and jackdaws … I wonder if this ‘friendship’ will continue?